AMHERST — A woman was killed around 3:05 p.m. Sunday after being struck by a Norfolk Southern train near West Street and the Jackson Street bridge, police said.
The train operator said the woman, who hadn’t been identified Sunday night, was walking south across the tracks, according to Detective Lt. Dan Jasinski. Jasinski said police searched an approximately one-mile area for her remains.
The death appears to be a suicide, according to Dr. Stephen Evans, Lorain County coroner. Evans said the train operator told police as the train approached, the woman walked toward it and hunkered down before the impact. Evans said an autopsy would be impossible. “The body was quite damaged by the train,” he said.
The woman was white and in her 20s with black hair and wearing a red-hooded sweatshirt and black sweatpants, Evans said. Evans said no car was found in the area leading him to believe the woman may be a local resident.
Jasinski said police have not received any recent reports of missing women.
“We have no leads, no nothing,” said about two-and-a-half hours after the death. “We’re still investigating it.”
Dave Pidgeon, a Norfolk Southern spokesman, said he didn’t know how fast the train was traveling when it struck the woman, but the posted speed limit in the area is 60 mph. There were two people aboard the 5,344-ton, 8,510-foot-long train.
Pidgeon wouldn’t say what the train’s cargo was, but said no hazardous materials were involved. The train, which was headed from Harrisburg, Pa., to Chicago, resumed travel at 5:50 p.m.
Pidgeon wouldn’t say whether the train operator will be drug tested or detail how the company, which has 36,302 miles of track in 22 states, investigates fatalities. “To the best of our ability, we cooperate with investigating authorities,” he wrote in an e-mail.
Jasinski, who joined the department in 1979, said train deaths happen every few years in Amherst, but was unsure when the last one occurred. The last fatality involving a Norfolk Southern train in the area was the May 22 suicide of 16-year-old Jessica Fernandez in Vermilion.
The long line of stopped train cars and the sight of police made nearby residents curious. Resident Brian Cooksey said said he suspected the worst when he stopped outside the nearby Church Street Bar & Grille at 300 Church St., for a cigarette and saw police on the tracks. “It’s sad,” he said.
Anyone with information on the woman is asked to call police at 988-2625.
Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or firstname.lastname@example.org.