MARSEILLES, Ill. — After what authorities suspected to be a pedestrian-versus-train accident proved not to be, police charged a Marseilles man with trespass to railroad property and unlawful consumption of alcohol by a minor.
Marseilles police, at 10:25 p.m. Friday, May 11, responded to a call of a loud bang followed by a train stopping. At the same time, it was reported by train operations that a pedestrian was struck by a train.
The train was stopped with the engine 100 yards east of Main Street in Marseilles.
The engineer and conductor of the train told police they were traveling eastbound between 35 and 40 mph Friday, when midway between Sycamore Street and Main Street, they observed a male pedestrian walking west on the tracks.
They sounded the horn to alert the individual, but he continued to walk towards them and then stopped on the tracks near the southernmost rail. He then raised his hands , with only his middle fingers extended and "flipped off" the train.
At this point, the engineer activated the emergency brakes.
He told police that, due to the design of the engine, he was unable to see the front of the train. As he passed the area where the pedestrian had been standing, however, he heard a thump.
After police conducted a cursory search of the area and the train, they contacted Marseilles Fire Department and Marseilles Ambulance for assistance. Marseilles Emergency Medical Services conducted a thorough search of the area on foot and with thermal imaging devices. They were, however, unable to locate anyone or find any evidence of a collision with the train.
Interviews were conducted with the neighbors in the area. They reported a young male carrying a bag of chicken was walking in the area at or about the time of the incident.
He had, in fact, knocked on the door of a home and spoke with the residents. They gave police a description of the subject and reported he appeared to be under the influence.
It was also reported he had walked toward the railroad tracks.
A clerk at a gas station on the west end of town told police a male subject matching the description was in the store asking questions about the train crash.
From the two descriptions, police were able to determine a possible identity of the subject and responded to a home located in rural Marseilles, where the subject was known to stay.
Dustin L. Smith, 20, of Marseilles was located and found to be unharmed.
As a result of an interview, Smith was charged in relation to the incident and was released with a notice to appear.