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Train-Related Fatalities In Gary, LaPorte County

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September 12, 2013 — Two northwest Indiana residents died in separate mishaps involving freight trains in the past 24 hours.

Gary Police say a 15-year-old boy is dead after he was struck by a Norfolk Southern train on the tracks on East 41st Avenue near Delaware late Wednesday afternoon.

The train’s engineer told investigators two boys tried to cross the tracks in front of the train, as they walked north on Delaware Street.  One boy, a 17-year-old, crossed safely but 15-year-old  Diquan Thomas was struck by the train.  He later died at a hospital from his injuries.

Gary Police spokesperson Cpl. Gabrielle King said Thomas was a freshman at Lew Wallace STEM Academy.

In LaPorte County, a 40-year-old LaPorte man died early Thursday morning after he drove around construction barriers and into the path of a Canadian National freight train.

The crash happened about 2 a.m. at a rural crossing on State Road 39, south of U-S 6 near Union Mills.  Sheriff’s Department investigators said Brian Massengill went around two barriers closing the highway for construction and the vehicle got stuck on the tracks.  The train was going about 45 miles per hour and the engineer was unable to stop to avoid hitting the minivan.

INDOT closed the highway on Monday for a two-week project to repair two railroad crossings about a mile apart from each other.

Sheriff’s deputies say alcohol was an factor in the fatal crash, because Massengill’s blood alcohol level was more than three times the legal intoxication limit.

 

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