POMPANO BEACH, Fla. – The Broward Sheriff’s Office is investigating a fatal crash Monday morning involving a Brightline train and a vehicle.
Local 10 News has learned that the victim who died was a 27-year-old family man with several children and another on the way.
The crash was reported at 5:39 a.m. at a railroad crossing in the area of Northwest Sixth Street and North Dixie Highway.
Sky 10 was above the scene just before 6:30 a.m. as car parts were scattered near the railroad crossing.
“I was in the apartment when I heard a big boom,” Lorraine Williams, who lives nearby, said.
A Brightline train with what appeared to be a white sheet covering the front end was stopped nearby, along with a freight train.
A spokeswoman for Brightline said the driver drove around the gates that signaled a train was coming before their vehicle was struck.
The conductor of the freight train told Local 10 News that he believes the driver was trying to beat his train, but then was struck by the Brightline that was heading in the opposite direction.
The impact of the crash split the vehicle in two.
“There was one person they did put on the stretcher -- that’s what I saw,” Williams said.
VIDEO: Surveillance video captures fatal accident involving Brightline train in Pompano Beach
According to a BSO spokeswoman, Pompano Beach Fire Rescue transported the driver to a nearby hospital, where he later died. The eight passengers onboard the train were not injured.
“Due to the severity of the driver’s injuries, detectives with BSO Traffic Homicide Unit were notified and are investigating the circumstances surrounding this crash,” BSO spokeswoman Gerdy St. Louis said in a news release.
Local 10 News has learned the man behind the wheel was 27-year-old Jake Bresnehan. A friend of the victim told Local 10 News that Bresnehan had two children, two step-children and another child on the way.
He was on his way to work when the crash occurred, according to the friend.
A GoFundMe page was created to create a trust for Bresnehan’s children and their education, and the link to that page can be found by clicking here.
This is not the first time a Brightline train has crashed into a car in the same area.
In February 2020, one person was killed when officials say they drove around the downed gates near North Dixie Highway and Atlantic Boulevard.
And most recently, in November 2021, a woman and her grandson survived a crash after failing to get their car off the tracks.
Brightline officials told Local 10 News at least 64 people have died in collisions with their trains since 2018.
In light of the alarming figure, a Brightline spokesperson told Local 10 News the company is requesting a federal grant to pay for roughly half of a $45 million project to increase safety measures they believe will help prevent accidents and deaths.
The company also issued a statement which read:
“All of us recognize that intercity passenger rail will move millions of people each year and be a vital part of Florida’s transportation network. FDOT, Brightline and our partner communities are committed to enhancing safety along the rail corridor and we will continue to identify funding opportunities like the RAISE grant.”
For more information on the safety project, see the fact sheet below:
Brightline warns drivers to follow these simple rules to prevent accidents such as this:
- Never drive around the gates
- Never try and beat a train
- Be aware that these are active railroad tracks with trains approaching in both directions.