Thomasville, NC -- A Thomasville High School student was killed by an Amtrak passenger train Tuesday night in the area of East Main Street.
According to Thomasville Police they believe 18-year-old, Paul Anthony Taylor, was walking south on the tracks listening to an MP3 player when the train struck him. They don't think he heard the train or the horn.
The Amtrak engineer said he activated the horn multiple times and made an emergency stop. However, the train was traveling 79 mph and was unable to stop before hitting Taylor.
The Carolinian was traveling from New York City to Charlotte with 220 passengers on board.
None of the passengers or crew were hurt.
The train resumed its trip shortly before 9:30 p.m.
Thomasville High School's Principal, Deboy Beamon said Taylor was a junior at the school. He also said Taylor was a gifted student.
Two grief counselors are on hand at the school working with students.
WFMY News 2 wanted to know how loud the the music had to be to drown out the sound of an approaching train. We turned to Brooke Miller, Doctor of Audiology with the Hearing Clinic to ask if we're living at levels that could cause permanent damage. She said, " It is all dependent on the loudness of the sound and the length of time you are exposed to that sound. So, the louder the sound the less time required to acquire permanent hearing loss."
To get a better idea of the damage sound can do, Dr. Miller also gave some insight into decibels -- a way to measure volume. Miller said typical conversations are between 50 and 55 decibels. On the other end of the spectrum, if you're standing next to an idling plane engine on a tarmac, thats around 140 decibels. That's loud enough to cause permanent hearing loss.
When looking at the decibels from MP3 players and train whistles, Dr. Miller said "Most mp3 players will be in the ballpark to 105 to 115 decibels. That is borderline to what we consider the threshold of pain...which is closer to 125."
But a train horn is actually lower. Miller said, "A train horn is somewhere around 96db [...] and it cannot exceed 110db due to noise regulations."