Man hit by train; two charged with manslaughter

By Shawntaye Hopkins

Investigators climbed an embankment to railroad tracks where a man was struck by a train and died on Thursday, Aug. 7, in Lexington.

UPDATED at 10:07 p.m.: Two men have been charged with manslaughter in the death of a man who was hit by a train in Lexington Thursday, Lexington police said.

Steven D. Dykes, 44, of Lexington and Charles M. Atkins, 49, of Lexington were charged with first-degree manslaughter and tampering with evidence.

The victim’s identity and cause of death would be released by the Fayette County coroner’s office police said.

The man has not been identified, and he wasn’t carrying identification when he was struck by an R.J. Corman Railroad Company train about 11:15 a.m. at railroad tracks along Old Paris Road, off Paris Pike near Interstate 75, said Lexington fire Maj. Ed Davis.

The train was traveling about 35 to 40 miles per hour when the operator saw what he initially thought was a deer or other animal lying on the tracks, Davis said. The engineer sounded the air horn several times, but the man never moved.

The engineer told police he thought the man was dead before he was struck by the train, the release said.

Earlier Thursday investigators said it was not clear whether the victim was dead before he was struck by the train. They also said it was too early to say whether drugs or alcohol may have been factors in the incident.

”The engineer’s shaken up,“ Davis said at the scene. The engineer was so shaken up he didn’t want to leave the train after the accident and walk to where the man was struck, Davis said.

Workers at nearby Cotton’s Transmission Service said homeless people often set up camps in the area by the railroad tracks.

Davis said the victim is an adult male who was likely homeless. He said there was not a camp in the area when police and EMS arrived, but people would have likely dispersed as sirens blared and law enforcement arrived.

”It’s not uncommon to have homeless people in this area along the tracks,“ said Officer Ann Gutierrez, a Lexington police spokeswoman.

Gutierrez said the train had just left a pickup station on Newtown Pike.

Noel Rush, R.J. Corman’s vice president of Strategic Planning and Development, said most of the cars on the train were empty.

An investigation is under way to determine whether procedures, including the use of horns and whistles were properly followed, Rush said.

R.J. Corman added no-trespassing signs at several sites in Lexington and other cities after a homeless man was killed near the J.M. Smucker plant on Winchester Road in August last year, Rush said.

”It is private property,“ Rush said of the tracks. ”And it is dangerous private property.“

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