Terry Boursiquot was already home from school when a friend of his brother’s came knocking at the door, crying as he delivered news the family still is trying to understand: Fred Boursiquot had been hit by a train.
Terry, 16, said Fred, 15, usually took the school bus home from Dwight D. Eisenhower Middle School in Prince George’s County. But on Oct. 21, he had gone with a group of friends who sometimes walked home along CSX-owned train tracks in Laurel, Terry said. The friend that arrived at the house that night said Fred “had not gotten out of the way of the train fast enough,” Terry said.
He and his mother rushed to the hospital in Baltimore where Fred was being flown by medical helicopter. The boys’ older brother, Jacques Ambrose, a casino dealer at MGM National Harbor, was watching local news on a work break when he saw reports that service on the Camden Line had been halted during rush hour after a teenager was struck by a MARC train.
Minutes later, Ambrose, 27, received a call from his mother, who through tears instructed him to hurry to Baltimore. When he arrived, doctors told the family that Fred was unconscious with swelling in his brain, a broken right leg and a fractured shoulder.
Fred was taken into surgery on his leg that night, Ambrose said. Throughout the week, he was in a coma, which doct ors at Johns Hopkins Hospital told the family was induced so that he would not be in as much pain.
Prince George’s County police spokeswoman Jennifer Donelan said an investigation into the incident is ongoing. “We do not think anybody pushed him or that he was trying to hurt himself,” she said.
Fred has not spoken since the accident, and was awake only briefly Wednesday, his family said, but they think he can hear what they are saying because he squeezes their hands.
Brittany Marshall, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Transit Administration, which oversees MARC Trains, referred requests for comment to Bombardier Transportation, a contractor that operates the Camden and Brunswick lines. Bombardier did not return requests for comment.
The friends who were with Fred that night have not visited him in the hospital, Ambrose said. But he said he does not fault them because he knows they are probably frightened by the ongoing investigation, adding that he, too, might have been afraid of police at their age.
“They’re a bunch of kids,” he said. “They’re not grown enough to know how to behave.”
For Terry, who was nearly inseparable from his little brother, the event has been especially hard. On a typical Monday afternoon, Fred would have gotten off the school bus and they would have done their homework together, played basketball and video games, had dinner and talked, a lot, Terry said.
“He loves to hang out with his friends, and he loves to play basketball,” Terry said. “Even at night.”
The living room of the family’s townhouse in Laurel is filled with family photos and signs, literally, of Fred. On a red door, Fred wrote in black permanent marker: “Fred’s House.” The WiFi, too, he named after himself after once fixing it, Ambrose said with a laugh.
“He’s a good child,” Ambrose said. “He cares about other people, and he is always trying to help them.”
When Terry broke his phone and didn’t have money to replace it, Fred gave him $100 he had saved, Ambrose said. He said he didn’t realize Fred had given the money until a new iPhone 7 arrived at their door Thursday morning.
Sitting next to Ambrose on the sofa in their living room, the boys’ mother, Marie Boursiquot, 55, quietly flipped through family pictures of Fred and Terry, always side by side: Fred and Terry grinning as toddlers; Fred and Terry relaxing on a vacation in Miami; Fred and Terry posing in suits before church.
“We almost never took pictures of just one of them,” Ambrose said. “They’re always together.”
The family moved from Haiti to Maryland four years ago. Ambrose taught Fred and Terry how to speak English during their first year in the state, when the family lived with an aunt in Silver Spring and the boys hadn’t yet been enrolled in school. Marie Boursiquot is still learning English, Ambrose said.
She proudly showed birthday cards that Fred and Terry had written for her in French when they were in elementary school: “Mom, it’s your birthday. I would like to say happy birthday,” read one. “I love you a lot mom. Happy birthday, mom,” read the other.
Terry told his older brother that he at first didn’t want to tell their mother, who had been struggling with depression, about the track incident.
“Terry didn’t want my mom to fall apart,” Ambrose said. “Even though she still fell apart.”
Fred attends Dwight D. Eisenhower Middle School, and Terry goes to Laurel High School, Ambrose said. Prince George’s County schools spokeswoman Raven Hill said Eisenhower has been in touch with the family and made counseling available to students.
“I think about him every day,” Terry said. “I pray for him. Everything I do I can’t stop thinking about him. No matter how hard I try.”
Ambrose said he has not been able to work since the accident, driving himself and family members between their home and the hospital in Baltimore.
He dropped out of school a few years ago to work full time to support his family and said he is again starting to worry about money.
“I’m like a father to them,” he said. “They’re all on me.”
Via Washington Post