North Central student killed by train in Naperville

By Melissa Jenco and Jake Griffin | Daily Herald Staff

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A North Central College student was struck and killed by a freight train this morning while he was crossing the railroad tracks near Naperville's downtown station.

The incident occurred at 8:51 a.m. at Loomis Street and the Metra Burlington Northern Santa Fe tracks, city officials said.

Police identified the victim as 22-year-old Daniel J. Twist of Brookfield.

Preliminary reports indicate Twist was heading south across the tracks and wearing headphones when he was hit by a westbound train traveling about 55 mph, according to Nadja Lalvani, community relations manager for the city.

Steve Forsberg, spokesman for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, said gates and flashers on both the street and pedestrian crossing were working at the time.

"Train crews observed the individual walk around the down gate and look in the opposite direction down the track but he didn't look in the direction of the train," Forsberg said.

Train service in both directions was stopped temporarily as police and fire personnel investigated.

Police are urging anyone who witnessed the event to call investigators at (630) 420-6665.

Twist was a junior broadcast communications major at the nearby college and commuted to school from his home. There is a Metra stop at Brookfield along the same line that runs through Naperville, but authorities aren't sure if he took the train to North Central.

Kim McCullough, a North Central spokeswoman, said Twist had transferred to the college this year after attending Triton College in River Grove for two years.

"He was very enthusiastic about studying radio and had begun working with our radio station," she said.

Twist's academic adviser is the general manager of the school's WONC-FM, John Madormo.

"He was a very likable young man," Madormo said. "This young man had energy and was bursting with it."

Twist had been engineering sporting events for the radio station in an effort to eventually do play-by-play or color commentary on the broadcasts. Madormo said Twist recently signed up to cover a large number of shifts at the station during the school's break from Thanksgiving until after the New Year.

He also was contributing news and sports casts on the station, Madormo said.

"He was doing all the right things," Madormo said. "This was going to be his home for the next two years."

Madormo said many of Twist's colleagues at the radio station were devastated by the news of his death.

"I've made them aware that we have counseling available to them on campus if they are having problems dealing with his death," he said.

 

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