An Ohio train conductor has died after a dump truck, attempting to cross tracks in Cleveland, collided with one of the cars of a passing Norfolk Southern train.
At approximately 1:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, an individual driving a Caterpillar 769C filled with limestone had stopped at a stop sign just before railroad tracks located near a Cleveland-Cliffs' Cleveland Works facility, which produces flat-rolled steel. The driver then proceeded onto the tracks just as a train sped by. The dump truck struck and killed the train conductor, who was then standing somewhere outside of the train's first car.
The conductor has been identified as Louis Shuster, a 46-year-old father of one from Broadview Heights, about 15 miles south of Cleveland. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Norfolk Southern has since released a statement. "Norfolk Southern has been in touch with the conductor’s family and will do all it can to support them and his colleagues. We are grieving the loss of a colleague today. Our hearts go out to his loved ones during this extremely difficult time," the statement read in part. The statement also claimed that the company has already contacted Cleveland PD, representatives from Cleveland-Cliffs, as well as Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (R), and others "to confirm the details and learn everything possible about the incident."
In addition to his work as a train conductor, Shuster was a U.S. Army veteran who was caring for his elderly parents. He also happened to be the president of the local 607 division of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen in Cleveland. "Lou was a passionate and dedicated union brother," Pat Redmond, local chairman of BLET Division 607, said in a statement. "He was always there for his coworkers. He was very active in helping veterans who worked on the railroad and veterans all across our community."
Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg tweeted about the unfortunate fatality as well.
The crash on Tuesday marks Norfolk Southern's third incident in just over a month. On February 3, one of its trains carrying hazardous materials derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, about 90 miles southeast of Cleveland. A subsequent burn caused toxic chemicals to be released into the air, and residents have since complained of headaches, coughing, and rashes.
Then last Saturday, another Norfolk Southern train derailed in Springfield, Ohio, located on the other side of the state between Dayton and Columbus. Though officials said that the train was not carrying hazardous materials, residents living within 1,000 of the derailment were still advised to shelter in place "out of an abundance of caution."
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