A British teenager who was walking across a level crossing while looking at her phone was struck and killed by an oncoming train, an inquest heard. The coroner could find "no evidence" that she intended to harm herself or take her own life.
In March last year, 15-year-old Evie Wright, a popular and high-achieving student, was "on the track looking at her phone" just moments before she was fatally struck by the locomotive at Worle, Somerset, Daily Mail reports.
The teenager had sent a text to her friend after returning from school on the fateful day, showing her the picture of a dress she planned to wear for a sleepover. She went out again and "seemed happy" throughout.
However, on her way back home, she had to walk across a railway pedestrian crossing. A child witness said Evie "kept looking down at her phone, like she was checking the time" just moments before she was struck by the train.
On March 6, 2018, Evie was was found lying face down across the railway tracks at Corondale Crossing.
According to reports, a pedestrian bridge was due to be built at the site two decades ago. Lee Wright, Evie's devastated father, demanded at the inquest that a footbridgebe installed immediately. "This has been going on since 1991, 11 years before my daughter was born, 27 years before she died," Wright told the inquest.
"Whilst all this is going on in the background, children are trying to cross this crossing. Our daughter is not the first to die like this. I am disappointed in the people responsible for this, and I would like to request something is done as soon as possible."
There were speculation that the teen might have committed suicide, but the coroner's report clarified that it was an accident.
Mandy Smith, one of her teachers, recalled in a statement, she saw Evie crying after she left halfway through a school trampolining lesson on the day she was killed.
"After the lesson, I asked Evie to get changed and come up to the office. I asked again if she was alright, and she said nothing in reply. She didn't say much at all but she made good eye contact. She didn't appear upset, and we parted as my next class came in."
The driver of the Great Western Railway train, Simon Harkus, said in a statement he saw the schoolgirl moments before the locomotive hit her. "I was traveling at approximately 25-30 mph as I approached the foot crossing, and as I drew close to the crossing, I saw a young girl waiting on the right side," he said.
"I saw her looking up at me as she stepped towards the crossing. There was nothing I could do to stop my train at such a short distance. I saw the girl hunch down as though bracing herself, and then I felt the impact as the train hit her."
Natasha Deakin, Evie's mother, described her daughter as "a happy girl with a wide circle of friends."
"She was described by her friends as the kindest, most genuine friend, always there for a hug," Deakin said in a statement.
"On the whole, she loved life — there was always music in the house, she was always singing and dancing, and she spent a lot of time talking to friends on social media. She was a confident girl with a rational and empathetic nature. She was very generous to friends and would often stick up for them. A deep sadness is felt throughout Evie's family and friends at the loss of our beautiful daughter, and will remain for a very long time."