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Michigan Man Saves Child, Loses Arm at GTW/Canadian National Crossing

(Ecorse, Michigan – May 12, 2011)

A 43-year-old resident of this Detroit-area community saved his two-year-old son, but lost his right arm when the two tried to cross through a stopped train at the High Street/Visger Street CN/GTW railroad crossing around 3:15 P.M. Thursday.

Police said that the train had been stopped for a long time before the victim, Ponce Wyckoff and his son, Karon, as well as Karon’s godfather, whose name was not provided, decided it was safe to cross. Carrying his young son on his shoulders, Wyckoff climbed up the ladder of a stopped railcar, crossed the coupler, and was starting to climb down the ladder on the other side of the car when the train lurched.

Ecorse Police Detective Lt. Stephen Salas, who was investigating the accident, said “whenever they (the trains) start, there’s a violent jerk. This threw him off balance, he lost his footing, and as he’s falling he pushes the child off his shoulders, both of them fall, and as soon as he hits the ground, the train rolls over his right arm.”

The victim was able to toss his son to a woman waiting on the opposite side of the railroad tracks. Karon suffered bumps and bruises and was taken to Children’s Hospital for examination. Ponce was transported to Oakwood Hospital for treatment, but doctors there were unable to re-attach the arm. Residents who live near the grade crossing said that “Sometimes the trains sit across the intersection for hours.”