ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Wisconsin man struck and killed by a train in a St. Paul rail yard last weekend was a longtime railroad employee and had loved trains since he was a boy, his sister said.
Locomotive engineer Jeffrey Harsh, 43, of West Allis, had worked for Canadian Pacific for about 17 years, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.
According to the police report, Harsh was starting his shift at the rail yard and was crossing the tracks when a train clipped him, knocking him to the ground.
The train was traveling about 30 mph. The conductor said he saw Harsh trying to cross the tracks when he was 100 yards away and immediately applied the emergency brakes, but was unable to stop in time, the report said.
According to the report, the train’s front side hit Harsh’s backpack, “spinning him into the rocky ditch.” Police were called to the rail yard at 12:30 a.m. on March 26, and an officer gave Harsh CPR. He was pronounced dead at Regions Hospital.
Harsh had suffered a laceration to the back of his head, the Ramsey County medical examiner’s office said.
“I’m torn up over this,” said Liana Harsh, one of his older sisters. “Even though he was a fun, happy guy, he did not play around at work. He knew how dangerous his job was. I know everyone makes mistakes, but my brother was very cautious.”
Jeffrey Harsh had also grown up in West Allis.
“I have pictures of him when he was a little boy and dressed up with a railroad cap and overalls,” Liana Harsh said. “He used to wear that a lot when he was younger.”
She said her brother had started training on a new route in the past month or so, riding with another locomotive engineer who was showing the route to him.
The Federal Railroad Administration and Canadian Pacific are investigating.