Teen in pickup hit by train released from hospital

A high school student, who was seriously injured when his pickup was hit by a train this summer, has been released from the hospital.

It was back on June 10th that Riley Sasser was struck by the Norfolk Southern train in Kinston. The 16-year-old had just received his driver's license the day before the accident.

Sasser has been recovering at Vidant Medical Center for just over four months.

The teen had been a junior firefighter at Hugo Volunteer Fire Department, so Greenville Fire/Rescue's HOIST Team (Helping Others In Stressful Times) was at the hospital today, along with a fire engine, to give him support for the road ahead.

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Two weeks after Kinston police say 16-year-old Riley Sasser was seriously injured in a train accident, his mother says he's improving.

We learned about the update on Facebook, but have been unable to reach her for comment.

According to Brenda Sasser's Facebook page, she says Riley is improving day by day. She says, "He is starting to show signs of moving his arms a little. Doctors are reducing the vent settings again. Let's pray for continued healing of his lungs, blood pressure, fever and patience of all of us. We are eager to see him wake up..."

On June 10th, police say the teen pulled out in front of a Norfolk Southern train and was struck.

Rescue crews had to go down an embankment about twenty feet and tear him from his pickup.

Friends say Sasser got his driver's license just a day before the accident.

Kinston police say no charges have been filed.

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Police say a teenager injured in a train accident is in critical, but stable condition in the intensive care unit at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville.

16-year-old Riley Sasser was crossing an ungated railroad crossing along Atlantic Avenue in Kinston around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday. Kinston Police say Sasser pulled out in front of a Norfolk Southern train.

The crossing serves Blizzard Building Supply and is marked with railroad cross bucks and a stop sign.

Rescue crews had to go down an embankment about 20 feet and get Sasser out of the truck, which landed on its top.

Sasser is a sophomore at North Lenoir High School, as well as a junior firefighter with the Hugo Volunteer Fire Department.

He turned 16 on Thursday, and friends say Sasser got his driver's license on Monday.

WITN spoke with one of Sasser's best friends on Wednesday. Luke McLawhorn says nearly a hundred people crowded the waiting room at the hospital Tuesday night.

"My heart sank," says McLawhorn. "It was terrible. It's been very emotional yesterday and last night. It's just very hard."

WITN also spoke with North Lenoir High School Principal Gil Respess, who describes Sasser as friendly, well known and kind.

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Authorities say a North Lenoir High School student was airlifted to Vidant Medical Center after being seriously injured when his pickup truck was hit by a train.

The accident happened around 11:30 at the railroad crossing that goes to Blizzard Building Supply off Atlantic Avenue in Kinston.

There are no gates or lights at that crossing, but it is marked with a stop sign and railroad crossing sign.

Rescue crews had to go down an embankment about 20 feet and get the teenage boy out of the truck, which landed on its top.

Police have identified the teen as Riley Sasser. The 16-year-old was taken by ambulance to Lenoir Memorial where it met a helicopter from Vidant.

A man who ran to help said when he got to the pickup, Sasser's vehicle radio "was wide open", with the teen possibly not hearing the approaching train.

Sasser is a sophomore at North Lenoir, and a junior firefighter at the Hugo Volunteer Fire Department.

There were 53 freight cars and four locomotives on the Norfolk Southern train, which was heading out of Kinston.

Shortly after 2:00 p.m. the train was allowed to move, no longer blocking the entrance to the building supply business.

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Lenoir County dispatch says crews are on the scene of an accident involving a train and a vehicle.

Few details are being released, but a dispatcher tells WITN that the accident happened near Walston Ave. in Kinston. We're told a vehicle was struck by a train and ended up in a ditch.

We have a reporter on the way to the scene and will update this story as soon as new information is available.