Investigators say the man killed by a Tri-Rail train Monday afternoon saw the crossing gates were down, the warning lights and sirens were activated, but still tried to cross the tracks on his bicycle anyway.
Jerry Smith, 53, was riding his bike east on Stirling Road in Dania Beach just before 5 p.m. when he neared the tracks. Despite the warnings, Smith tried to beat the train, but was hit by the train and his body was thrown into the air.
Pat Mansey, Smith’s cousin, said he’s positive his relative was not trying to commit suicide when he was hit Monday.
“He would definitely try to beat that train, it was in his nature,” Mansey said.
A witness heard the accident, ran to the scene and found Smith on the tracks. The person covered Smith’s body with a blanket until paramedics arrived. Smith was pronounced dead a few minutes later. Mansey said when his cousin died; the world lost a good soul.
“He’s one of the sweetest guys that would help anyone no matter what,” Mansey said. “He would help you. That was his nature. I love him and I hope to see him again in another life.”
The crash left Tri-Rail backed up for hours at the Sheridan and Airport stops. It also temporarily shut down an exit ramp off Interstate 95.