Child hit and killed by freight train in Ripley, TN

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RIPLEY, Tenn. -- A community is mourning the death of a 9-year-old little girl, after she was hit and killed by a train in Ripley, Tennessee.

The child was struck on train tracks behind her home near Highway 19 and Rice Avenue.

“I couldn't sleep last night.  About 11, I started fixing my car, and ain't nothing wrong with my car,” said neighbor L.C. Whitlow. He was in his house Saturday when he saw a crowd running, screaming someone had just been hit by the train. He took off through the woods hoping to help.

“I thought it was a grown person. But when I seen her little helpless body lying there, man I had to take my shirt off and cover her body up,” said Whitlow.

By the time Whitlow covered the child's tiny body, some of her friends had already seen it.

Neighbors tell WREG, children were playing a game they call chicken; kids run across the tracks, trying to beat the train. Saturday evening, two other children made it across the tracks, but sadly the fourth-grader was no match for the quick and powerful train. She died on the scene.

“When you see a little child like that, you don't know what to say or what to do,” said Whitlow.

Whitlow says from now he'll warn more kids about staying off of the steep hill leading down to the  tracks.

“It isn't no way you can describe it but hurt and pain,” said Whitlow.

The other two children were not hurt.

WREG reached out to the company that owns the train, Canadian National Railway. According to the company, the train involved was a northbound freight train. No one on the train was hurt.

The accident remains under investigation.