Man struck, killed by freight train
The train conductor tried to apply the emergency brakes but it was too late
HAWTHORNE, N.J. — Police are seeking the public's help in identifying a man who was struck and killed by a freight train early Saturday.
An employee of the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway line called police at 2:14 a.m. to report that a train had struck someone on a trestle over Wagaraw Road, police Capt. Richard McAuliffe said.
An engineer on the southbound train saw a figure on the tracks and applied the emergency brake, but it was too late to avoid striking the man, McAuliffe said.
The victim was located on a steel platform beneath the tracks, which sits 60 feet above the roadway, making it difficult to retrieve the body.
Three fire companies assisted in the recovery, said Hawthorne Fire Chief Joseph Speranza. Firefighters used harnesses to reach the man and carried him on a rescue stretcher known as a Stokes basket to a ladder truck on the ground.
Police described the victim as a black male in his late 50s, about 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighing 175 pounds. He had a glass right eye, McAuliffe said.
The victim was wearing black sweat pants, sneakers and a black jacket with a fur-lined hood. Police believe a tan-colored Adidas baseball cap, found nearby, was also his. The man was not carrying identification.
Police have taken the man's photo to hospitals, homeless shelters and police departments in the area to determine if anyone knows him. Hawthorne police also canvassed an area of Paterson where the man could have entered the tracks and showed his photo around.
As of Saturday evening, the man had not been identified. Police are urging anyone with information to call 973-427-1800.
"The main focus of our investigation now is attempting to identity him and, if there is next of kin, to make contact with the next of kin," McAuliffe said.
The Passaic County Sheriff's Department, the Hawthorne Volunteer Ambulance Corps and the state Medical Examiner's Office also responded to the scene. An autopsy was scheduled for today in Newark.
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