(Edmond, Oklahoma – August 12, 2014)
A veteran city of Edmond, OK employee of the Edmond Electric utility died tragically Tuesday afternoon when he was struck by a BNSF freight train as he tried to free his city vehicle from its trackside impalement at about 5:50 P.M., CDT, according to City of Edmond Spokesman Casey Moore.
The victim, Bob Waterson, 57, of Wellston, OK, was a 34-year Edmond city employee who currently held the position of lead journeyman-lineman. He was on duty and working to de-energize redundant and no longer utilized electrical lines along the BNSF tracks, which, according to Federal Railroad Administration documents, carry a daily average of 32 trains at a top speed of 55 mph through Oklahoma’s original capital city.
Edmond Police Dept. Spokeswoman Jenny Monroe indicated that Waterson was not actually in his vehicle, but very close to it, when either the train or the truck struck him, killing him.
“We are incredibly saddened and shocked by this tragic accident,” Edmond Electric Director Glenn Fisher told Edmond Sun Writer Mark Schlachtenhaufen and Tulsa Daily World Staff Writer Samantha Vicent. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Bob’s family, friends and co-workers. He was a valued part of our team and this is a big loss for many people.”
Because the site of the tragedy was not near a crossing, it is currently unknown as to how much warning the victim had of the train’s approach.
Waterson, who was both a father and a grandfather, leaves as a survivor his wife of 30 years, Betty. He was an avid volunteer for youth sports, coaching both little league basketball and T-Ball.
City Spokesman Moore added that a chaplain would be visiting with Edmond Electric employees as a group.
BNSF Spokesman Andy Williams said that the company “was working with the city as they sought answers about what happened before the accident,” and cautioned that “BNSF does not usually release findings of its investigations.”