Thursday, June 08, 2000

Butler Co. man killed by train

2nd such death in two weeks

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        ST. CLAIR TWP. — A 20-year-old man was killed early Wednesday when struck by a train — the second train fatality in less than two weeks in Butler County.

        “It's a very bizarre situation where both these guys were laying on the tracks. ... We don't know why,” said Col. Richard K. Jones, chief deputy sheriff. “These are two tragedies where trains met with human bodies — and that's a no-win situation.”

        Col. Jones said it's frustrating that such deaths continue to occur despite officers' repeated efforts to warn people that walking along railroad tracks is trespassing and angerous.

        David Lowery of St. Clair Township was pronounced dead early Tuesday after a train struck him on tracks along U.S. 127 south of Fear Not Mills Road. The train's engineer reported the incident about 2 a.m.

        Andy Willis, coroner's investi gator, said Mr. Lowrey's death is likely to be ruled an accident because witnesses said Mr. Lowrey scrambled to his feet and ran after apparently hearing the train approach.

        On May 28, a train struck and killed Daniel Havens, 51, of Middletown, on railroad tracks in Madison Township.

        His death was ruled an accident with alcohol being a factor, Mr. Willis said. Tests showed Mr. Havens' blood-alcohol level was above the legal limit, 0.10.

        Mr. Lowery tested negative for alcohol, Mr. Willis said.

        Railroad tracks course throughout Butler County — a testimonial to its roots as an industrial center, Col. Jones said. It's also one reason the county seems to have a relatively high number of train-related injuries and deaths, he said.

        Of the 54 deaths and injuries among railroad trespassers statewide in 1998, eight occurred in Butler County and six in Hamilton County. There was only one such accident in each county in 1997.


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