Railroad News

Death of Popular Teacher’s Aide, Hit By Train, Shocks Illinois Town

(Coal City, Illinois – April 25, 2011)

 A 27-year-old special education teacher’s aide, only a month away from earning a degree in economics and business from Illinois State University, died early Saturday morning as he was walking home along Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad tracks just south of Illinois Route 113, near the Oak Street BNSF railroad crossing which was permanently closed to vehicular traffic a few years ago.

Joshua T. Cumming, who starred for Coal City High School in football, baseball and golf during his years there, and whose mother, Sandy Hennessy, is a fourth grade teacher at Coal City Grade School, was hit by a BNSF train about 3:00 A.M. The small Grundy County, Illinois community is left in shock in the wake of the tragedy.

“It was an unfortunate incident,” said Grundy County Coroner John Callahan, who noted that nothing related to the death was suspicious. “A very, very tragic thing,” said Coal City School District #1 Superintendent Dr. Kent Bugg as counselors and social workers prepared to meet with grief-stricken students returning to school after the Easter-weekend holiday.