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Published: Wednesday, 8/6/2014

Amtrak train strikes, kills northeast Ohio man


ROOTSTOWN TWP., Ohio — A 53-year-old Rootstown man was struck and killed by an Amtrak train early today while walking to work.

Tim Freeland, 53, was walking toward his brother’s house around 6:15 a.m. when he was struck from behind by a train.

The Portage County sheriff’s office and investigators with the coroner’s office are investigating the mishap.

The Amtrak train and its passengers were delayed for hours while authorities documented the apparent accident.

Freeland was walking near the intersection of Lynn and John Smith roads in Rootstown when he was hit.

The train operator told investigators that Freeland was stepping from one railroad tie to the next when he was struck.

Authorities say it appears Freeland was on his way to his brother’s house for a ride to work.

“He does have a history of walking the railroad tracks to get to his brother’s house,” said Tom Decker, chief investigator with the Portage County Coroner’s Office.

Decker said Freeland’s wife and brother have been notified of the incident. The body will be sent to the Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy.

Portage County Sheriff David Doak said he discourages anyone from walking near railroad tracks. If they must do it, he said, they should be cautious and not assume that they know which direction the trains will travel.

“[Trains] are dangerous,” Doak said. “Our advice is don’t assume anything. If you’re going to be walking along the train tracks, and a train comes, get away.”

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