(Cherokee, Alabama – December 3, 2011)
A local resident died about 4:35 P.M. Saturday afternoon when he was hit by a Norfolk Southern freight train as he walked along NS railroad tracks near downtown Cherokee, AL.
The victim, Daniel Austin, 26, may never have heard or seen the train in time, as the railroad comes around a curve from behind some bluffs at that point, and he was at least 200 yards from College Street, the nearest crossing.
Austin’s body was trapped beneath the train, which traveled about 100 yards past the point of impact, and the area where the tragedy occurred is difficult to access other than via the railroad tracks.
“We had to use ropes to get down the embankment and to the train,” said Commander Matt Moore of the Cherokee Rescue Squad.
The victim was pronounced dead at the scene by Colbert County Deputy Coroner Jesse Testerman, who attributed the death to head trauma.