Police: Student hit, killed by train in Kannapolis on way to class

Two students from A.L. Brown High School attempted to cross the tracks on Friday morning.
Students walked out of school for about an hour on Monday to remember their friend who was struck by a train
Published: Apr. 21, 2023 at 4:20 PM EDT
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KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (WBTV) - A student was hit and killed by a train in Kannapolis on Friday morning, police said.

According to Kannapolis Police, the incident happened around 7:30 a.m. when two A.L. Brown High School students were crossing the tracks near 309 South Main Street while on their way to class.

One of the students was able to get off the tracks and was not hurt.

The other, identified by family as Kolby Smith, was hit by the Amtrak train and died at the scene.

According to his family, Kolby Smith “loved skateboarding, was fearless and enjoyed hanging out with his friends. Always smiling, he was kind, respectful and had a positive outlook on life. Gone too soon, Kolby will be greatly missed by his family, friends and all who knew and loved him.”

Police said the students had been crossing at a non-designated crossing area at the time of the incident.

Kolby Smith
Kolby Smith(Kolby Smith's family)

On Monday students paid their respects to Smith both on and off the A. L. Brown High School campus.

Dozens of students left campus to walk a few blocks to the parking lot at the intersection of Martin Luther King, Jr., Avenue, and S. Southern Avenue. It is an area near where Smith was killed.

The students spoke about Smith, held a candlelight vigil, and then released balloons.

Principal Dr. Sara Newell said other activities to remember Smith are also happening on the campus.

“In our performing arts center we set up a grief center,” Newell told WBTV. “The students are making cards for the family, they’re making posters for funeral and the visitation and items for a bulletin board we are going to create, so we are going to do a memorial bulletin board in the front of our school.”

The family will receive friends Tuesday evening, April 25th from 6:00-8:00 pm at Whitley’s Funeral Home in Kannapolis. Funeral services to remember and give thanks for Kolby’s life will begin at 11:00 am Wednesday in the funeral home chapel, conducted by Reverend Ron Hartman.

“Yeah, I don’t know that he met a stranger,” Newell added. “If someone wanted to have a friend in Kolby, they found a friend in Kolby and just like I said, just a smile that would light up a room…he was definitely someone who would just put his arm around anybody.”

A private burial will take place at a later date.

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