(Jefferson County, Illinois – June 10, 2013)
What WSIL-TV was told was a “favorite fishing spot” for many people became the site of a deadly tragedy Saturday morning about 11:30 A.M. when a 27-year-old Mount Vernon, IL resident, his cousin and his girlfriend were fishing in the middle of the Union Pacific railroad trestle over Atchison Creek when a UP freight train approached. All three escaped from the precarious position, but in such haste that Dominique McCrae realized he had left his fishing tackle and returned to retrieve it, only to be struck and killed by the train, one of four that cross the span daily at a maximum speed of 49 mph.
“The young man had no idea,” lamented Jefferson County Coroner Eddie Jo Marks to WSIL-TV Reporter Hilary LeHew. “He was going to have a good day today, but something jumped up and bit him.” Marks went on to explain that, according to the victim’s mother, it was McCrae’s inability to swim that caused him to choose running south along the trestle ahead of the train, estimated to be traveling at 40 mph, instead of jumping off the bridge and into the water below.
When emergency personnel arrived at the scene, they found the victim’s body in the creek, dead from what Coroner Marks described as “severe head trauma” caused when he was hit by the train.
“There’s a family that’s in a lot of pain right now,” said the Coroner, who added that he had been forced to deal with too many train-related accident during his tenure, and hoped this would be the last.
“They’ve (the victim’s family) lost a loved one,” he concluded, adding his hopes that the tragic event would serve as a lesson to others.