VRE train hits and kills pedestrian on foggy morning

A cashier at Target in Burke was struck and killed by a Virginia Railroad Express train on Wednesday morning as she walked across tracks that run behind the store.

Fairfax County police said in a press release that the train, traveling south from Washington to Manassas, hit 22-year-old Danyelle Lynn Anderson just after 7 a.m.

The release described conditions as “foggy and dark” and said that the engineer applied the emergency brake and sounded the horn as soon as he saw the woman on the tracks, after rounding a slight curve just past the Burke station. Police said the train slowed but was unable to avoid hitting Anderson, and described her death as an accident.

Anderson, a resident of Manassas, identified herself on her LinkedIn page as a graphic design intern at an interior design agency and a cashier at the Target. The railroad runs just behind Target, separated from the store by a copse of trees.

VRE spokesman Rich Dalton said that the railroad is conducting an investigation which will consider whether to add fencing to prevent people from crossing the tracks at the place where Anderson was killed.

“The fence right behind it is obviously in some disrepair, but a sign posted there by Norfolk Southern, the owner of the railroad, indicates no crossing or trespassing. That’s something we have to look at with Norfolk Southern,” Dalton said.

Julie Zauzmer is a local news reporter.

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