NEW: Brightline’s first ride to Fort Lauderdale takes off hours after ‘tragic’ pedestrian death


Despite the tragic pedestrian death on the eve of Brightline’s kickoff, riders were excited and departures ran smoothly Saturday morning. 

Brightline’s first ride to Fort Lauderdale took off on time with a few glitches for customers who bought tickets at the station. But even that couldn’t stop the excitement.  

>> Boynton Beach Police identify woman fatally struck by Brightline train

“I’ve been really anxious to ride on it,” said Matthew Litwin, of Jupiter, who rode the 8 a.m. train to Fort Lauderdale. “The day is finally here.”

The first official train ride comes hours after a woman in Boynton Beach was killed by a Brightline train.

>> VIDEO: Riding Brightline this weekend? Five things to know

Boynton Beach Police identified the woman as 32-year-old Melissa Lavell. Witnesses told police that Lavell appeared to be crossing the tracks after the guard rails were in the down position in an attempt to make it across before the train came.

Some riders were aware of the incident but they said it didn’t worry them. 

“[The] Tri Rail has that same problem so you know I wasn’t too surprised that was going to happen,” said Litwin. 

>> It’s ‘All aboard’ for Brightline inaugural rail run

Lantana resident Elena Postal said she wasn’t too concerned either. 

“I think people will always do stupid things and that’s a risk and it doesn’t look good from a PR standpoint but you can’t argue the laws of physics. If you put yourself in front of a train, there’s danger. There’s a risk.”

According to Brightline’s website, tickets for departing trains this afternoon from West Palm are sold out. The next available train to Fort Lauderdale is at 6:30p.m. 

>> Amid Brightline’s new flash, whither Tri-Rail?


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