December 20, 2014

Elyria
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Man struck by train identified

 

Police and EMS search for a body on the railroad tracks on Wednesday night on the bridge overlooking East Bridge Street. KRISTIN BAUER | CHRONICLE

Police and EMS search for a body on the railroad tracks on Wednesday night on the bridge overlooking East Bridge Street. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

ELYRIA – Police have identified a man who was struck and killed by an oncoming train Wednesday, though they don’t know whether the death was the result of a suicide or an accident.

Christopher M. Hepler, 40, of West River Road in Elyria was killed by a Norfolk Southern train near 150 E. Bridge St about 9:50 p.m. Wednesday.

Elyria Police Lt. William Pelko said Hepler was lying on the tracks before the train hit him.

“We’re not ruling suicide yet,” Pelko said, adding that family members told police Hepler would often walk along the tracks around town.

Police are also looking at whether alcohol was a contributing factor in Hepler’s death as Hepler was walking home from a nearby bar at the time of the incident, according to Pelko.

Hepler, who worked at Smink Electric in Elyria, was married and had a 17-year-old daughter, Pelko said.