A split second decision made by a friend may have saved one of their lives. Officials say it’s a reminder of the dangers of trespassing on train tracks.
At about 8:30pm Monday, emergency crews were called to 118th and Olive St., just south of Harrison St., to the railroad bridge over the Papio Creek.
Police say three teens were on the railroad tracks about 40 feet above the ground, when they realized a train was heading their way. The men ran toward the train which, authorities say, they thought was their closest exit. One teen got off quickly, but the other two were farther back on the tracks. Police say that's when 19-year-old Nicholas Wilson may have made a split second decision.
"From preliminary information we have from some video evidence it appears our victim may have pushed the other boy that survived off and saved his life in the long run here," said La Vista Police Chief Bob Lausten.
Wilson died at the scene. Dillon McHenry, 18, was taken to the hospital and was last listed in fair condition. Both graduated from Papillion La Vista South HS this year.
Chief Lausten says they've had problems with MIP parties and people smoking marijuana there. In 2008, another man was injured badly when he was on the same railroad bridge while hunting.
“At BNSF Railway safety is paramount for both the communities we serve and for our employees. Last night’s incident is a tragic reminder that trespassing on railroad property is extremely dangerous, often with deadly or life-changing results. Trains can’t swerve or stop quickly. To stay safe, people need to stay away from train tracks. Our condolences go out to all who are impacted by this tragedy,” a BNSF representative told KMTV Action 3 News.
Patrick Tulagan was fishing on the Papio Creek when he saw everything, and says it's something he'll never forget.
"It was just shocking I feel bad for his family and friends,” Tulagan explained. "My tip is don't go on the train tracks; anything can happen in the blink of an eye.”
Eddie Zielinski, 18, was also with Wilson and McHenry but uninjured.
“Today is a sad day for the Papillion-La Vista South Titans. Nicholas was a 2016 graduate who was very personable and came from an amazing family. Our heart breaks for them,” said Papillion La Vista South HS Principal Jeff Johnson.
An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday.
La Vista PD and railroad police will figure out a solution to stop people from climbing on the tracks.