Hagerstown Police, railroad authorities investigate death after city man struck by train
Authorities are investigating an incident early Friday morning in which a man was found dead after being struck by a train on the West Franklin Street overpass near North Burhans Boulevard, according to Hagerstown Police Lt. Rebecca Fetchu.
Hagerstown Police and Norfolk Southern investigators were called to the scene of the incident, which was reported around 2:20 a.m., Fetchu wrote in an email.
The train was on a Norfolk Southern track and train operators immediately called police, wrote Fetchu, spokesperson for Hagerstown Police.
The deceased was identified as Jordan Andre Savage, 31, of Hagerstown, Fetchu wrote. His body was sent to the state medical examiner's office.
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This was at least the third fatality on the tracks along the North Burhans Boulevard area in the past 2 1/2 years, according to Herald-Mail archives.
A 40-year-old man was struck by a train the night of Sept. 14, 2020, along tracks close to a concrete company in the 400 block of North Burhans Boulevard.
A 58-year-old woman was struck and killed by a train the afternoon of March 17, 2021, in the 500 block of North Burhans where the tracks run along the concrete company property.
Both of those earlier fatalities were ruled accidental, Fetchu emailed Friday.
"Any loss of life is a tragedy, and our thoughts are with the family and friends of this person," Norfolk Southern spokesman Connor Spielmaker wrote in an email Friday morning. "Train tracks are never a safe place for the public to be for any reason — trains travel at all hours of the day and night, and can come unexpectedly from any direction. The only place it’s safe to cross tracks is at designated crossings, and those still require extra attention to cross safely at."
There is a set of stairs nearby at the Church Street overpass, making it easy for pedestrians to access the tracks, Fetchu wrote.
"Anywhere there are trains, it’s a dangerous situation," Fetchu wrote. "People shouldn’t be on or near the tracks, it doesn’t take much for an accident to happen."
Spielmaker noted the stairway is clearly marked with a "No Trespassing" sign, as the railroad right-of-way is private property.
The tracks along North Burhans also are accessible by climbing steep hillsides along the tracks. Shoe prints were visible Friday morning in the eastern side of the track hillside between the West Franklin Street and Church Street overpasses. It was not known if they were made by trespassers or emergency officials responding to the scene.
The Federal Railroad Administration cautions that it is illegal to trespass on railroad property, Fetchu wrote.
"Trespassing along railroad rights-of-way is the leading cause of rail-related deaths" in the U.S., according to the Federal Railroad Administration's website.
The administration site notes it's illegal to access private railroad property other than at designated pedestrian or road crossings.
Trains don't follow a set schedule so they can come at any time, the agency site states. Trains also overhang tracks by 3 feet or more on either side, so a person can be struck by a train without being on the tracks.
"Norfolk Southern also partners with organizations like Operation Lifesaver nationally and at the state level on rail safety initiatives and in educating the public," Spielmaker wrote in an email.
Operation Lifesaver's website includes train safety information and a rail safety pledge children and adults can take.
This article originally appeared on The Herald-Mail: Officials investigating fatality; man struck by train in Hagerstown