MIDDLE RIVER, Md. (WJZ)–A year after a teenager was struck and killed by an Amtrak train in Middle River, her mother continues to fight for safety around the tracks.

Suzanne Collins explains a high school is near the rail line and there’s concern students might use it as a shortcut.  

Wednesday marked a year since Tara Stickel lost her daughter Anna in a horrifying accident on the Amtrak line in Middle River. The 14-year-old student missed a bus and walked instead on the rail line.  She was struck by a speeding train.

The mother has been fighting ever since for improvements that would prevent a similar accident in the future. But she feels little has been done, even though Amtrak says it’s continuing to meet about what can be done.

“It’s very frustrating,” said Tara Stickel “What we’re asking for is not unreasonable. We want to help kids. We want to keep kids safe. That’s not unreasonable.”

Stickel proposed a crossbridge but says she was told it was too costly. The wires ran too high and private property would have to be purchased. She asked for a better fence.

“There’s holes, gaps in it,” Stickel said. “It’s falling down in places, further down Orems Road, there’s no fence at all.”

Amtrak says it has repaired holes in the fence around where Anna died six times in the last year and monitors it for vandalism. More warning signs went up.  But building a new fence could also be prohibitive.

Anna’s family noticed Wednesday about seven trains going by every hour.  They’re going fast, over 100 mph, and they’re also very quiet. They thought that young people could be surprised if they’re walking on the tracks.

Despite an educational assembly at the school, Anna’s brother says he can’t believe some people still cut through, not realizing the risk.

He says he’s trying “to stay strong for my mom because she’s taking it the hardest of anybody,” Mike Stickel said.

Amtrak says it has held 10 train safety assemblies at schools near its tracks between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. since Anna’s death.

Comments (99)
  1. Neightbor too says:

    Where would you put the bridge that it could be accessible to all kids. The kids a mile up the road are not going to walk down to come back up to go over a bridge. Maybe they should put up tragic signs everywhere for warnings like the ones they want people to quit smoking that are scary. It not fair to make one bridge and only a few kids safe. Keep up the good work though and make the Anna alert everywhere for all children. Everyone is truly sorry for your loss it could of happened to anyone. People have been crossing for miles on those track for decades and their have been many loses on them. Condolences!!!

  2. Atim Ant says:

    Amtrak does what it does for all of its properties: post “No Trespassing” and “Private Property” signs. I’m not blaming the mother, but she’s fighting a pointless battle. Amtrak isn’t going to do something that isn’t financially savvy on their end to make sure one kid or two uses a bridge (next to electrical wires, i might add).
    It was a tragic loss, and I offer condolences, but kids need to realize that trains go fast, and trains can kill.
    People get hit by cars all the time because they cross in the middle of the street instead of crosswalks, how do we force people to use crosswalks? Should we build a bridge at every crosswalk? No, that would be extremely costly.

  3. Darlene Rehbein says:

    The person who said they live in a better neighborhood then Essex and their son was safe. I’m glad your son is safe but don’t blame Essex. I don’t live in Essex but there are train tracks everywhere. People get killed crossing the street or by stray bullets everyday, so no one is safe because you never know. A bridge is not the answer as if the bridge is to far to walk to, a kid is going to cross farther down the track. As far as fences, not only the kids but the adults cut holes in them for easy access to crossing. I think the trains or the track itself should have loud alarms that it can be heard far enough in the distance to warn people in time. As a parent, I know you can put fear into a younger child as to danger, but your teen is going to do what they think is best. As a former teen myself, I would have crossed the tracks myself as a shortcut dispite what my parents said,just because it was a shortcut and I would have used my own judgement. So do not blame the parent, and I feel so bad for this loss. But as far as everyone saying things are to costly, what is a human life worth?

  4. samm says:

    dumb people these days i swear

  5. samm says:

    hey “issues”, yr a real piece of work aint ya ? yu just make me wanna kick yu in yr teeth. me being a friend of anna & for yu to say stuff like this, nah aint gonna fly. but like “proud to live in essex” says, karma is one bad mofo & WILL come bite yu square in the ass. & to everyone who is from essex/middleriver/ whereever this sumbbag doesnt like, be proud ! yu can sit there in yr nice warm cozy place & keep yr fat happy ass up there ! if yu dnt like whats going on down here THEN STAY UP THERE !

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