Elijah Anderson is one lucky boy. The doctors who treated him have taken to calling him Superman, because it seems he would have had to have been made of steal steel to survive being hit by a train.
Somehow, he did though, and with no other signs of emerging superpowers.
On Nov 5, this four year old boy was playing with his dog outside of his family’s home in northwest Atlanta. Elijah chased the dog – a Jack Russell terrier named Poochy – behind the Lamar Avenue home to the train tracks on Wilson Boulevard.
The boy was focused on the dog to such an extent that he did not notice the oncoming train, explained his mother.
The train was traveling at 30 mph when it struck the boy, throwing him clear of the tracks. The train’s conductor reported that he say Elijah on he tracks, but did not have sufficient time to stop the train to avoid him.
The incident left the four year old stunned and in pain.
“He couldn’t even cry because it hurt so bad,” Elijah’s mother said in an interview with AJC. “His eyes were closed and he couldn’t move.”
Paramedics who arrived on the scene were quick to take Elijah to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston, where he was treated for a concussion and received stitches. Within twenty-four hours his condition was upgraded from critical to good. Two days later, miraculously, he was home and eager to go back to playing outside. His dog was not injured, and presumably also eager to return to their normal routine.
Elijah and his twin sister were under the supervision of their thirteen year old sister when the accident occurred. Now, they are not allowed to play outside without their mother present. Instead, they play in the house. And everyone is incredibly relieved that he is able to play at all.
“I’m so blessed. He’s so blessed,” his mom said as she prepared the twins for Christmas shopping. “We have all the presents we need.”
With 15 deaths last year, Georgia ranks tenth in the United States for train related pedestrian fatalities. Another 8 were injured last year by trains. Nation wide, 452 pedestrians were killed by trains.
Pedestrians do not have the right of way on train tracks, and as in this case, it is normally physically impossible for a train to stop once the conductor has seen someone on the tracks in front of them. According to the non-profit Operation Lifesaver, it takes the average freight train a mile to come to a stop when it’s traveling at a speed of 55 mph.
“There was no way they could have stopped for that little boy,” said Jennie Glasgow, Georgia coordinator for Operation Lifesaver. “People don’t have the right of way on the tracks. They are breaking the law and risking their lives.”
Police say that CSX, whose train was involved in the incident, will not be held responsible for the accident.