Gaston County teen struck and killed by train

Written by Trent Faris

CRAMERTON, NC (WBTV) - A high school student was hit and killed by a train in Cramerton on Monday.

Joshua Lee Phillips was walking home from school and he was wearing an MP3 player.  He never heard the train whistle.

Friends of the teen say he was a gifted musician who loved listening to music.  However, his passion for music may have cost him his life.

"He loved music and he loved to walk," said Phllips' youth pastor.

On Tuesday, Phillips' friends came by his house to pay their condolences to his family.

"He just didn't hear it, just didn't see it," said Anthony Puller.

Puller gave Phillips a ride home from school some days, but most of the time, Phillips preferred to walk.

Train operators told investigators Phillips was listening to his MP3 player and appeared as though he didn't hear the train barreling down the tracks behind him.  He never acknowledged the train whistle or bell.

Norfolk Southern officials told WBTV the train's horn sound range is 96 to 110 decibels.

Audiologists say 120 decibels could drown out the train noise.

However, the maximum volume for an MP3 player varies between 100 and 110 decibels which is the same as a train horn.  Therefore, it quite likely Phillips never heard the train.

The accident is still under investigation.

A visitation will be held at First Free Will Baptist Church in Gastonia on Thursday from 6-8 p.m.  The funeral service will be on Friday at 2 p.m.

A student memorial service will be held Wednesday at 7 p.m.