Man hit by train; two charged with manslaughter

By Shawntaye Hopkins and Cara Anthony

Two Lexington men have been charged with manslaughter in the death of a man who was hit by a train in Lexington on Thursday, police said.

Steven D. Dykes, 45, and Charles M. Atkins, 49, were charged with first-degree manslaughter and tampering with evidence.

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

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

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

Lexington Police Lt. James Curless said that conversations with people around the area led police to the two men, who are thought to be homeless. Curless also said there are several camps of homeless along the railroad track.

A police citation filed for Atkins said that he and Dykes assaulted the victim, causing his death, and then moved the victim’s body to the tracks, where it was run over. An arraignment was scheduled for Friday.

Atkins and Dykes both have a long histories of charges, most recently including trespassing, alcohol intoxication and begging, according to the Fayette County Detention Center.

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

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

It was too early to say whether drugs or alcohol might have been factors in the man’s death.

The engineer was so shaken up that 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 near the railroad tracks.

Davis said the man who died probably was homeless. He said there was not a camp in the area when police and EMS arrived, but people probably would have dispersed by the time police arrived.

The train had just left a pickup station on Newtown Pike, Lexington police spokeswoman Ann Gutierrez said.

Noel Rush, R.J. Corman’s vice president of strategic planning and development, said most of the cars on the train were empty.

Investigators are looking into 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 2007, Rush said.

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

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5 Comments on “Man hit by train; two charged with manslaughter”

  1. Caspian Says:

    “Investigators are looking into whether procedures, including the use of horns and whistles, were properly followed, Rush said.”


  2. Frank Smith Says:

    If the RJ Corman company would patrol thier property and transport the homeless to the HOPE CENTER these kinds of tragedies would be avioded. Why does someone have to be killed before people take action? As long as nothing happens, nothing happens! But when someone gets killed all (he double hockey sticks) loose!

  3. Sandi Says:

    The engineer had nothing to do with the accident. I wouldn’t be able to distinguish a man from an animal at that distance. PLUS, RJ Corman has posted their No Trespassing signs. It is not their responsibility to patrol and taxi people to other places, like the Hope Center. If anything, the ones on the tracks should be slapped with a misdemeanor for being on the tracks. Then, they can apply a “3 strikes” rule and they wouldn’t have to worry about being homeless anymore. They can spend some time in jail living the life of luxury with our tax dollars!!!

  4. Curtis Says:

    I agree with Sandi about how its not the railroad’s job to taxi the homeless to the hope center. Many of these homeless people ride the rails and have been for as long as railroads have been around, They may not even want to go to the Hope Center. They set up their camp (jungles) where they can catch another train to the next town.

    Also, it sounds like the guy was already unconscience or dead on the tracks, Hardly the fault of the railroad.

  5. Gluttony Says:

    That is a good point Sandi with the 3 strikes rule but then we would be supporting them with our tax dollars.
    Sons Of Sam

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