NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) - A 10-year-old boy had his leg severed by a train while he was playing on the tracks off Bellwood Road in Newport News Sunday afternoon.
Police say Jahmee Harris, who is from Hampton, was visiting family in the area. The boy was with a group of kids playing on the tracks at the time of the accident, according to police and witnesses.
"The kids just came running down and I knew what they were going to do, because I have seen them do it for a couple days now," said James Slater, who lives next to the railroad tracks. "So I called 911 before they even got to the tracks."
Over the past few days, Slater has noticed the neighborhood kids playing a game on the tracks. He says the train moves slow enough for them to jump on certain cars.
"It's a coal car and there are ladders on the side. They jump on it and they hang. They don't even pick their feet up, they just hang and they go down a couple hundred yards and they let go," said Slater.
Slater says he called 911 Saturday, but the train was gone by the time police arrived. Sunday he tried again, and while he was giving the operator a description, he heard the screams.
"Four or five kids came running off the tracks crying, saying he got hit, his leg got cut off," said Slater.
Slater found the child hunched over near a telephone pole.
"He was kind of sitting and I could see his injury," said Slater. "And he said, 'Hold me, hold me, I don't want to die. I don't want to die.'"
He says the boy's left leg was severed just below the knee, part of it was gone, part of it was still attached.
"It wasn't like...clean, it was jagged and it was something you would see in a horror movie," he said.
Slater followed the 911 operator's instructions, calling out to other neighbors for a belt, a towel and a plastic bag. An ambulance arrived minutes later. Slater said he left disappointed, because he never saw the boy's parents.
"I think the parents need to be more involved. I think parents should be held responsible," said Slater. "They've seen the kids do this."
Another neighbor told WAVY.com it was a gruesome scene, watching investigators search for pieces of the boy's limb.
The train involved in the accident was a CSX train. CSX investigators were at the scene Sunday night.
The boy underwent surgery Sunday and was transferred to the Children's Hospital of the Kings Daughters. Greg Lampman with CHKD told WAVY.com Monday the boy is 10-years-old and his leg was not reattached.
He is in fair condition.
A company has been hired to complete the repairs to the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge on the Outer Banks, but how long those repairs will take remains unknown.
Drivers traveling between Hatteras Island and the mainland were forced to use an emergency ferry Wednesday, following the sudden closure of the Bonner Bridge Tuesday.
State officials say construction on a new Bonner Bridge has been delayed for years because of a legal battle with an environmental group.