‘There have been fatalities’ - Train bridge in Grand Ledge sees rise in trespassing

Published: Oct. 26, 2022 at 7:11 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Oak Park in Grand Ledge is a popular spot for high school senior pictures, nature walks and potentially deadly trespassing.

An active train bridge, a trestle, has seen its share of trespassing despite warning signs.

“You’ll see some standing on the bridge, sitting on the bridge,” said Ryan Latourette, who spends a lot of time in the park. “There’s always somebody that’s crossing the train trestle, standing on the train trestle, sitting, having a lunch picnic on the train trestle, catching the fall colors from an elevated view.”

Grand Ledge police chief Thomas Osterholzer said they catch people on the trestle regularly.

“People come from all over to walk the ledges in Grand Ledge, especially this time of year,” Osterholzer said. “A lot of them don’t think it’s that big a deal when they see the sign and they go around it.”

A path has formed from all the foot traffic the area gets, but going past the fence is trespassing and can put someone’s life at risk.

If you’re on the bridge when a train comes, your choices are to jump or get hit by the train. If you jump, you’ll be falling into shallow water with concrete just below the surface.

Those who can make it off the bridge safely could spend 30 days in jail and face a $500 fine.

Latourette said he’s seen the train pass through, just moments after people got off the bridge.

“When I see kids on the track with parents, that’s just frightening,” Latourette said. “It’s one thing to play with your own life, it’s another for your child to be in a threatened position.”

Osterholzer said he has worked with the city and the railroad to keep people off the bridge, but he still wants everyone to understand how dangerous it is.

He added there have been talks within the city government about building a pedestrian bridge to keep people off the trestle, but it would take time and money that the city is using elsewhere.

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