Man falls to his death, marking 21st ‘close call or fatality’ on James River trestle bridge

Lynchburg & Central Virginia News

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — The Lynchburg Police Department is investigating after a man fell to his death Sunday morning from a railroad trestle at Riverside Park.

He was also with a woman, who police say was examined by medics on-scene and was released.

The fatal incident on Sunday, April 25 is not the first one that happened on this particular trestle. WFXR News’ Amanda Lee spoke with a local expert about why this is happening.

The site from that trestle shows a great view, but history shows folks have been risking their lives for it.

The Blue Ridge Railway Historical Society tells WFXR News this marks the 21st “close call or fatality” on the James River bridge.

“It’s an awesome view from on top of it. But it’s a deadly view from on top of it if you’re not on a train,” Rick Johnson, President of the Blue Ridge Railway Historical Society, said. “The trains come up on you very quick. You cannot hear them, especially a train like this morning that’s coming off of the Lynchburg side.”

Johnson’s archives show that since 1969, folks have been falling off the ledge, getting hit by oncoming trains, or almost getting run over.

“It tends to seem like its young people most of the time and it tends to seem like its when the weather gets nice,” Johnson said.

Johnson tells WFXR News there’s a danger sign at each end of the trestle — explaining the risks of crossing.

“If people don’t take heed into it and do what they ask there’s going to continue to be these types of incidents,” explained Johnson.

Eight of the 20 previous cases involving trespassing onto the bridge involved Liberty University students, two of whom have lost their lives.

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