PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - For the second time in just more than a week, tragedy hit the tracks in South Mississippi.
Just after 3:30 p.m. Thursday, emergency responders arrived at the 14th Street railroad crossing in Pascagoula after a woman on the tracks was hit and killed by a train.
Wendell Lee operates the Crown Inn next to the tracks. He first heard the sound of a train horn, followed by breaks.
"I ran on over to see what was going on and saw the body under the train," Lee said.
Pronounced dead on the scene, the victim was hit by a westbound train. She was dragged for more than 100 yards before her body was found at the crossing.
"All of a sudden it slammed on its breaks, and after the three short toots I said, 'Oh Jesus Christ, no,' and turned around and sure enough," said Mary Meldren, who saw the train come to a stop.
Pascagoula Police Lt. Doug Adams says train operators followed emergency procedure correctly.
According to past WLOX reports, it is the fourth time a pedestrian has been hit and killed by a train in Pascagoula since 2009.
Meldren works at a local soup kitchen, and the tragedy hit home for her.
"Just about every time that one of them gets hit, it's somebody that I've fed," said Meldren. "It really touches my hart and this is sad, so sad."
The train pulled away two hours after the deadly incident as investigators continued looking over the scene. People like Meldren and Lee hope they never again have to see something like what they witnessed on Thursday.
"You know, I've seen about all of it, but that really will work on you there," Lee said. "That was really a bad situation."
Meldren added, "I just pray to God that it comes to a stop."
As of Thursday night police hadn't released the victim's identity.