Freak Train Accident Kills 2 College Students on Last Night of Summer Break (VIDEO)

Heartbreaking 10

CSX trainIn what is shaping up to be one of the most freakish railroad accidents in years, two college girls were killed by a train after it derailed in Ellicott City, Maryland late Monday night. Elizabeth Conway Nass and Rose Louese Mayr were hanging out together on a railroad bridge when the CSX train carrying loads of coal passed behind them and suddenly derailed, sending train cars and coal hurdling to the streets below. The bodies of the two girls wound up being found buried under mounds of coal. (Absolutely horrific.)

And if this story wasn't already heartbreaking enough, the circumstances for why Elizabeth and Rose were sitting on that bridge together makes the entire scenario even more tragic.

They were simply enjoying one last night of summer fun together before heading back to their respective colleges to start the fall semester. Elizabeth attended James Madison University, and Rose was a student at the University of Delaware. They had their entire lives ahead of them -- and I'm sure the last thing on their minds as they sat on that bridge together was that they were about to take their last breaths.

Just moments before the train derailed, the girls posted a couple of updates on Twitter detailing their final night out. One tweet said, "Drinking on top of the Ellicott City sign," followed by, "Looking down on old ec." And the last tweet that was posted is especially haunting, as it read "Levitating," along with a picture of their bare feet hanging off the railroad bridge.

Ugh. This insane freak accident is horrible no matter how you look at it, but I think the scariest part is that it's one of those things that you never believe is going to happen to you. (And yes, I realize they were drinking, but we can't fault them for that. Let's be honest -- most of us drank at 19 even though we weren't of legal age yet.)

Those poor girls were truly in the wrong place at the wrong time, and I can't even begin to imagine the series of "what if" questions that are likely going through their families' minds. What if they hadn't gone out that night? What if they'd chosen another place to enjoy their final night of summer? What if they'd gone back to college just one day earlier?

Sadly, trying to answer those questions won't make this tragedy any less gut-wrenching. Freak accidents can happen to anyone, even to two college kids who were simply trying to create one last summer memory together.

You can hear more about the accident in this video clip.

What words of condolence would you offer to their families?


Image via Gamma Man/Flickr



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Emily Way Sizer

I live near Ellicott City (it's outside of Baltimore) but I am from the same town where James Madison University is located. Both communities are absolutely heartbroken right now. So very sad.

cmjaz cmjaz

No blame for drinking. They were just minding their own biz. Very sad and tragic.

Charla Perkins

They were trespassing - drinking on a railroad bridge. While I am sorry this happened, they weren't minding their own business. It is sad and tragic, but I wouldn't go so far as to say it was a freak accident. I'm guessing the investigation will show that when the train crew saw the girls on the bridge, they threw the train into emergency. That's my guess as to what caused the derail, and subsequently, the tragic death of two beautiful young ladies.

zombi... zombiemommy916

You're a moron...sorry...the girls had nothing to do with the derailment...just a tragic coincidence...and living in a small town (as these girls did), sitting on bridges (where their town sign is proudly displayed, fyi), walking along railroad tracks

zombi... zombiemommy916 a normal thing to do...trespassing or not...

Deann... Deanna2872

Normal or not, there's a reason people shouldn't be walking along railroad tracks after dark- its dangerous and can cause tragic accidents and death. And if they were trespassing, my guess would be that the area they were in was not a safe one, considering its proximity to the tracks and the potential risks of being there. As was proven.

So no, there really isn't anything normal about it.

It's a very sad and tragic accident, and my thoughts are with their loved ones...

Charla Perkins

Tragic coincidence? Sitting on a *train* bridge, and wow, shocking!! A train comes flying at you. I guess if someone decides to sit in the middle of a lane on the highway and gets hit by a car, that's a tragic coincidence? As for it being normal - lots of people grow up in small towns, including myself. Most of us don't sit on train bridges. Why would you? Oh, cause their town sign is proudly displayed. Gotcha. I guess what you're saying is, as long as it's 'normal', nevermind highly dangerous and illegal, it's ok to do it. And if anything bad does happen, it's a tragic accident. Great logic there, zombiemommie916.

nonmember avatar Heather Dickson

As far as I can tell these girls didn't cause the train to derail. Coincidence...yes. Tragic...Absolutely. Freak Accident...Hell yeah!

tammy... tammyc1106

How heartless are you Charla Perkins? the question was

What words of condolence would you offer to their families?

 They were sitting on the brige; I highly dought they made the train derail! So do you think because you feel they were in the wrong they deserved what happened? I love how something like this happens and some people instead of sending consolences for the families loss or saying some kind words have to run their mouths about how wrong you think the victims were. What if this were your child and people made comments like you did? I bet you were perfect as a teenager/young adult. You probably never did anything that was questionable right? at least these poor girls were not out drinking and driving. They were sitting alone trying to enjoy some one on one time before going back to school.  I know it's a free country but have some cuth. I pray that the families of these poor VICTIMS can make it through this difficult time and ignore people like you!


Charla Perkins

Like you, tammyc1106, I failed to say what words of condolence I'd offer. I got caught up responding to another poster, as it appears you did. I would tell them that I'm very very sorry for the tragic loss of the daughters.

As for me being heartless - that couldn't be farther from the truth. I see the other side, how the train crew will have to live with this for the rest of their lives. Who, as far as we know, did nothing wrong. Think about that. You're doing your job, and people who are in an unsafe location, and for whatever reason those people end up being killed. Everyone blames you, but you were only doing what you were supposed to be. Now you've killed two young girls. Do you have any idea what train crews go through when this kinda thing happens? I do. I've seen it over and over. Had these girls been out drinking and driving, they could've hurt or killed other people. But because they were drinking and trespassing, that's better and they were doing nothing wrong? I just don't agree with that. I'm guessing you have no idea how a train works, or you'd understand how they could have easily caused the derail. I feel for the girl's families, but I also feel for the 3 men who were just trying to do their job.

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