LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – An Ohio woman walking on an old but still active railroad trestle in east Louisville was apparently investigating a local urban legend with her boyfriend when she was hit and killed by a train, a deputy coroner said Sunday.
Roquel Bain, 26, of Dayton, Ohio, died of multiple blunt force injuries suffered in the collision and subsequent fall from the trestle, Deputy Coroner Jack Arnold said. The collision, which occurred near the 3100 block of South Pope Lick Road, was first reported to police at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Bain was pronounced dead at the scene. The coroner estimated that she fell between 80 and 100 feet. Her boyfriend survived with no injuries, police say.
Arnold said Bain and her boyfriend were visiting Louisville to take a “haunted” tour of the Waverly Hills Sanitorium. Before their tour started, they heard about the “Pope Lick Monster” myth. Curious, the two made their way up to the train tracks when the train surprised them, the man told the coroner. The man said that the two realized they couldn’t make it to the end of the trestle so they decided to hang off the sides, but Bain couldn’t move fast enough.
Many thrill-seekers mistakenly think the trestle is no longer in use, author and historian David Domine told WAVE 3 News for a story in 2014. They are drawn by stories of a creature – half-goat and half-man – that tricks people into climbing onto the trestle.
Many residents in the area say the myth has been taking the lives of many over the past couple of decades.
“It’s been around for years, even my nieces and nephews used to go and come out here,” Denise Harris said. “The Goatman, when they climb up on the trestles and they cross it–he’s supposed to come out when they cross it.”
Little do they know, going up onto the trestles in itself is a deadly choice.
“If they’re halfway through [the tracks] and the train comes, you either have to jump, run or basically get it,” Harris said. She also added many people think they can outrun the trains that come by.
“When you’re young, you think you live forever; it’s a euphoria. Or they think they can outrun the train,” Harris said pointing at the trestles. “That’s a long way to run and you can’t run that fast.”
She’s right. With Norfolk Southern trains passing by at an average speed of 24.1 miles per hour, you would have to be faster than Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world, just to keep up with the train. In addition, other residents say the specific area sees heavy traffic.
“I see a train pass every thirty minutes or so. It’s shocking, people hear about so many deaths and they still take the risk,” Michelle burns said.
Burns says she can only hope people will give it a second thought before they make the last decision of their lives.
“It’s sad, I pray for the family, my thoughts are with them but I wish that people would think about what they’re doing before they do it–it’s definitely dangerous.”
A chained fence and warning signs are in place to keep people away from the area.
The LMPD Homicide Unit is handling the investigation. The train involved is a Norfolk Southern train.
Funeral arrangements for Bain are being handled for Jones, Kenny, Zechman Funeral Home in Dayton.