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MICHIGAN CITY — Transit police have opened up a death investigation after a man was struck Thursday night by a South Shore commuter train about eight blocks west of the city's Carroll Avenue stop, authorities said. 

Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District Police Chief Bob Byrd said the LaPorte County coroner's office and investigators were still on scene as of 8:20 p.m. near Grace Street.

The man has been identified as L.B. Steward, 57, of Michigan City, Byrd said. Next of kin has been notified, he said. 

At about 6:55 p.m., Steward was "sitting on the tracks" as an eastbound commuter train headed his direction when he was struck, according to witnesses, Byrd said. 

Witnesses told police they yelled to Steward to get off the tracks, but he did not heed their warnings, Byrd said. 

Police were canvassing the neighborhood and interviewing potential witnesses Thursday night, Byrd said. The circumstances surrounding the man's death are not yet known, he said. 

"Right now, it's just a tragic loss. We'll sit down with the train crew and supervisors and offer them counseling. They are one of the survivors in this. We want to make sure they're OK."

Michigan City police are assisting, he said. 

Residual train delays were expected Thursday night, NICTD spokesman John Parsons said. 

Train 117, which departed from Chicago at 5:10 p.m., struck Steward in single-track territory, resulting in delays for that train, two eastbound trains and one westbound train west of Michigan City. 

The LaPorte County Coroner's office was not immediately available for comment Thursday night. 

At about 8 p.m., the trains were reportedly back in service, but will be delayed arriving to their destinations, he said. 

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Lauren covers breaking news, crime and courts for The Times. She previously worked at The Herald-News in Joliet covering government, public policy, and the region’s heroin epidemic. She holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting.