LaPorte County man survives strike by train going 110 mph

2013-08-17T20:00:00Z 2013-08-18T22:39:10Z LaPorte County man survives strike by train going 110 mphStan Maddux Times Correspondent
August 17, 2013 8:00 pm  • 

A Michigan City-area man was hit by an Amtrak train traveling 110 mph Friday and survived with just a few broken bones.

Darryle See, 22, was alert and talking to police after being thrown into tall grass 20 feet from the tracks along U.S. 12 east of Michigan City, LaPorte County police Maj. John Boyd said.

See, who lives at the Shady Oak Trailer Park on U.S. 12, told police he was listening to music with earphones as he walked in the middle of the tracks about 11:30 a.m. just east of the trailer park near the Michigan state line.

The horn on the westbound train sounded multiple times and the brakes were applied before See was hit by the front locomotive, Boyd said.

''The conductor said it was a straight-on hit,'' Boyd said.

During Boyd's 20-year career in law enforcement, he has never heard of anyone living after a full-impact hit by a train while on foot, especially when the train was traveling at such a high speed, he said.

''I have never seen anything like that before,'' Boyd said.

Helen Hugley said her grandson was at a hospital in South Bend on Saturday with ''one or two'' fractures in his pelvis and non-life threatening injuries to his neck.

''That's about it, as far as I know so far. He's going to make it,'' said Hugley, who said See was scheduled for surgery Sunday.

See lives with Hugley and her husband, Joe.

She speculated her grandson was walking to the lakefront a few miles away, which is something he often does. Why he was in the middle of the tracks was not known.

Hugley said See was on the front deck of their home before he headed out on foot.

''He says he doesn't remember anything until he woke up on the other side of the tracks,'' said Hugley, who spoke to her grandson on the phone while he was in his hospital bed.

''He called us earlier. He talked to me for a few minutes. He's going to make it,'' Hugley said.

Neighbor Jordan Combs, 26, said he was shocked See survived.

''That's crazy. I can't believe he lived. It's a miracle,'' Combs said.

See was wearing only shorts and shoes when he was hit, police said.

One of his tennis shoes was knocked off his foot, landing about 150 feet away from where See came to rest in the tall grass.

Boyd said See might have survived because the front of the locomotive is angled, which could have deflected some of the force of the impact.

''He was conscious and alert, sitting up and talking to us. I never would have guessed he was the victim,'' Boyd said.

The train was heading from Pontiac, Mich., to Chicago and had 280 passengers.

Joey Dompke, 20, another one of See's neighbors, also was amazed See survived.

"God was looking out for him,'' Dompke said.

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