Enraged screams: Turmoil preceded train track fatality

Around 8pm February 11, Emily Bolden was outside her Albemarle County house beside the original Woolen Mills, gathering sticks to make a fire when she heard screams to the east. A woman's screams. Not frightened screams, but screams about hating God, says Bolden. 

Twenty minutes later, Bolden heard the screams again: "Fire is the only way to go," she says she heard.

A visiting friend told her the woman was in Bolden's yard, that he recognized her from the Downtown Mall, and that she was homeless, says Bolden.

And then she heard a knock on the door. "She said her name was Kimberly," says Bolden. "She said she'd been attacked." Bolden offered to call the police. "She didn't want me to call the police," says the young woman. "I was really freaked out."

"I didn't open the door," says Bolden. "I was afraid. She was screaming like she was possessed by the devil or high on meth. So angry. So haunting."

Bolden's yard borders the train tracks, and a nearby trestle carries the tracks over Moore's Creek. Now she wonders if the woman was the victim of that night's train fatality.

At 8:50pm, the first emergency call came from a Buckingham Branch engineer in the area of Luck Stone on Richmond Road, according to Albemarle Fire and Rescue Chief Dan Eggleston.

The emergency message noted, "train vs. a pedestrian" and described a female between 40 and 50. Then more chillingly, "Trying to find her."

"There were access problems for us," says Eggleston. "They had to hike in quite a ways. The scene wasn't cleared up until around one o'clock."

Eggleston says he doesn't know exactly where the woman was hit, and rescuers moved from the Luck Stone quarry on Richmond Road to searching from Martha Jefferson Hospital on Pantops, which is less than half a mile from Bolden's house.

"It seems like very unusual circumstances," says Eggleston. "There are very few cases here of pedestrians hit by a train. It's just odd."

At press time, police have identified the victim as 18-year-old Kimberly Welch, with no fixed address. Her body has been taken to the Medical Examiner in Richmond, and police ask anyone with additional information to contact Detective Morris at 972-4177.