(Ashton, Illinois – March 12, 2115)
A local man walking to his place of work along Union Pacific Railroad double tracks in the northern Illinois community of Ashton was hit and killed by a Union Pacific freight train headed in the same direction near Douglas Avenue at about 2:50 P.M., CDT Thursday afternoon.
Andrew Jonathan Ruiz, 22, was on his way to Crest Foods for his second shift job when the train surprised him. Lee County Sheriff John Simonton said the victim was walking east along the railroad corridor and his body was found lying beside the UPRR tracks. The Lee County Coroner’s Office said he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Speculation was that he used the railroad corridor regularly in his daily commute and may have thought the train was on the opposite track, even though he was not walking directly upon the railroad tracks.
The UPRR corridor through Ashton can carry as many as 35 trains daily at a top allowable speed of 70 mph, as it cuts diagonally through the small community between Dixon and Rochelle in northern Illinois.
The primarily unfenced railroad route is almost an open invitation to pedestrians, as it borders the backyards of residences and back doors of businesses in the community.