(Auburn, Alabama – April 2, 2016)
Auburn, AL Police Dept. Captain Lorenza Dorsey said authorities had no suspicion of alcohol or drugs playing any part of the tragic train-related death of a popular Auburn University freshman student early Saturday morning in an area of the university city frequented by college students.
Dakota Parker, 19, an Auburn University business major from Decatur, AL, described by those who knew him as a “positive, respected leader and all-around good guy,” was attempting to cross CSX railroad tracks near the 200 block of North College Street when he was struck and killed by a CSX train. The CSX tracks where he was attempting to crossing are lined by businesses and apartments. A half dozen CSX trains roll daily at a maximum speed of 45 mph.
“That’s a pretty public area where he was killed,” Capt. Dorsey told Decatur Daily News Staff Writer Ashley Remkus. “It’s not uncommon for people to be walking in that area. There are a lot of restaurants and apartments on either side.”
Parker’s death left his hometown community in Priceville, AL shaken as friends, former coaches and school leaders remembered the star football and baseball player. Priceville High School Football Coach Dirk Strunk called Dakota a “hard-working, upbeat young man,” who “was respected by all of his peers.”
“Dakota was always the kind of person if you needed somebody, he would be there,” said friend and former PHS teammate Aaron Cartee.
Morgan County Schools Supt. Bill Hopkins Jr. was particularly saddened by Parker’s tragic death, saying “Morgan County Schools are always devastated when we lose a student,” said Hopkins, “but this one hits closer with me personally, not just professionally. Dakota was one of my son’s best friends. Dakota has spent nights at my house. Dakota and his family went on a senior trip with our family,” Supt. Hopkins lamented.