Family wants answers in train death

Updated at 10:45pm 10/5/10

A Galesburg man is dead after witnesses said he tried to beat a train. 

Family members said 39-year-old Erick Stevenson was hard of hearing in one ear and they're not sure why he decided to cross. 

The family's Galesburg apartment is a stone's throw from the tracks.  The mother of Stevenson's four kids said one of the youngest was standing right beside the train when it happened.

"She's very traumatized, every time she hears the train, she's like, my daddy got hit by a train," said ex-girlfriend Angela Alford.

Stevenson was hit at North and Kellogg Street last night.  One neighbor who rushed to help said Stevenson told him he was trying to beat the BNSF freight train.

"We have a lot of trains through here, all the time and they're trying to get wherever they're going, too fast," said neighbor Brian Whitehall.

But family members think there may be more to it and they want answers.

"It'll ease some of my pain.  I mean I am just the kids' mom, but I've known him all my life.  To know exactly what happened, it would help me better explain it to her when she gets older," said Alford.
Stevenson's fiance said the sound of the horn is haunting but they're not moving.

"Yeah, we struggled so hard and we're not going to give up, that's not what he wanted," said Beverly Osborne.

The Peoria County Coroner is working on a toxicology test to figure out if drugs and alcohol were factors.

Earlier story on 10/5/10

A Galesburg man is dead Tuesday after being struck by a freight train near his home. The accident happened Monday night around 8 PM in Galesburg. Officers say 39 year old Erick Stevenson was walking southbound on Kellogg Street, when he crossed the railroad tracks and was hit by the westbound BNSF train.

Stevenson was taken to Galesburg Cottage Hospital, but was later transferred to St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria. The Peoria County Coroner notified Galesburg Police that Stevenson died around 1:40 AM Tuesday.

Officers say the crossing gate at the Kellogg Street Crossing was down at the time of the accident. It is not clear if alcohol was involved.

Officers are currently investigating the accident.