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Woman Struck by VRE Train Could Face Criminal Charges

The woman suffered minor injuries after the commuter train struck her in Manassas.

A woman struck by a passing commuter train on Friday will likely face trespassing charges, because she and her companion were walking on the rails, Manassas Police said.

It happened Friday afternoon on the Virginia Railway Express Manassas Line, near the Liberia Avenue overpass, according to Manassas Police Sgt. Lowell Nevill.

The conductor of the train noticed a man and a woman walking on the tracks, so he slowed the train and sounded the horn, Nevill said.

"They stepped to the side, but not far enough," Nevill said.

The woman's backpack got caught on a part of the train, spinning her around and causing her to fall, investigators said. 

She suffered injuries to her arm and was taken to Fairfax Hospital for evaluation.

Her injuries were not serious and she is expected to survive, Nevill said.

The train tracks are owned by Norfolk Southern and the train was operated by VRE, so a special police agent with one of those entities will likely pursue trespassing charges against the man and the woman, he added. 

Neither of the people have a fixed address and may have been intoxicated at the time of the incident, police said.

This is the second train strike by a VRE train on the Manassas Line in two months.  There was also a VRE train strike on the Fredericksburg Line near Dumfries. Both of those incidents were fatal.

In April, three people were charged with trespassing after they jumped off the tracks and into a ravine near Burke to avoid an VRE oncoming train.

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