Legends of the deadly Pope Lick Trestle: deaths & injuries from real monsters

Updated: Nov 21, 2020

Legends of the Pope Lick Monster have been passed down in our community for generations. Whether it's the version where the sheep-man hybrid from the freakshow escapes from the crashed circus train, a Native American skinwalker seeking vengeance against new settlers in the region, or a satanic farmer sacrificing goats to fuel his transformation, they all have one thing in common: the Pope Lick Trestle is deadly.

If you're unfamiliar with the tale, you can listen to our "spooKY" renditions:

The Goatman Monster of Pope Lick

audio stream

released October 2020

The Sheepman of Pope Lick Trestle

audio stream

released October 2018

These tales may be a fun and entertaining way to get into the spooky spirit, but the dangers of this place are very real and must be taken seriously.

The deadly-ness of the Pope Lick Trestle is no myth. Since its construction in the late 1800s, the trestle has been responsible for dozens of deaths and countless injuries, and has been a source of trauma for many victims, families, and railroad employees. While individual accounts of specific incidents are suspiciously hard to track down online, Beargrass Thunder has been able to consolidate the following list of official news stories and articles regarding the dangers of the trestle.

Deaths and Injuries at Pope Lick Trestle

  • Savanna Bright (15) - 2019 - Two females were hit by train and knocked off the side. Savanna was pronounced dead at the scene, another unnamed female was in critical condition and is now recovering.

  • Roquel Bain (26) - 2016 - Roquel was hit by a train and fell to her death, while her boyfriend survived by hanging from side

  • Nicholas Jewell (19) - 2000 - 19 year old falls to death after encountering train.

  • James Ratterman (35) - 1994 man trapped underneath overturned ATV stuck on the trestle died after being struck by train.

  • Michael Wells (14) - 1994 - managed to tuck his body under the track to avoid being hit by an oncoming train.

  • Christina Butts (19) - 1993 - Christina along with two other young women and three young men were almost across the trestle when they saw the light from the oncoming train. All managed to survive with minor injuries by climbing down onto the metal parts of the trestle. Christina, too frightened to move, was rescued by firefighters, the ladder almost not being tall enough to reach.

  • Grady (19) - 1992 - Grady, a student at Miami University, was on the trestle at about 1:45 am when he saw a train coming. He held onto a railroad tie but lost his grip, falling about 100 feet

  • Jack “J.C.” Charles Bahm II (17) - 1987 - struck and killed by a train February 18, 1987 while crossing the trestle.

  • David Wayne Bryant (19) - 1986 - sustained injuries in 1986 when he jumped from the trestle to dodge an oncoming train, passed away from those injuries in May 1987.

  • John K. List - 1985 - John K. List was killed on June 1, 1985, when he was struck by a Southern Railroad Company train. List was on the trestle with friend, Randall Graves, and had been on the trestle shooting crows. Graves was able to hang on a cross tie while the train passed, saving his life, List was within 30 feet of the end of the trestle when he was struck and killed.

  • Sean Fleischman (20) - 1984 - survived injuries sustained from a fall from the span of elevated track.