A 3-year-old boy
was killed on Tuesday after being struck by a freight train and his
2-year-old sister seriously injured, after Portage Police said that they may
have snuck out of their residence in the Woodland Village Mobile Home Park
to play near the railroad tracks.
Coroner Chuck Harris identified the boy as Caleb Wilson, who was pronounced
dead at the scene. A forensic autopsy was scheduled for today.
Caleb’s sister was
airlifted to Comers Children’s Hospital in Chicago by the University of
Chicago Aeromedical Network.
According to a
statement released by Portage Police Chief Troy Williams, officers responded
to Woodland Village, at 5757 U.S. Highway 20, at 9:36 a.m., following a
report that a CSX freight train had struck a toddler. Officer Laura
Lightfoot, first on the scene, discovered Caleb deceased and his sister
“actively crying” but with “visible injuries.”
Two sets of CSX
tracks run parallel to the southern end of Woodland Village, located south
of U.S. 20 and west of Willowcreek Road.
indications” are that the two children “snuck out a screen door of their
residence,” in the 500 block of Woodland Village, “and made their way to the
CSX tracks,” Williams said. “The conductor advised that when he observed
them on the tracks he blew his horn and attempted to brake, but was unable
to stop before striking the toddlers.”
remains under investigation.
“I want to
emphasize the exceptional teamwork by the police and fire personnel on scene
who worked to stabilize the 2-year-old, move her to the ambulance, and then
onto the UCAN helicopter,” Williams said. “This tragedy undeniably affected
the first responders, as several were visibly shaken by what occurred but
worked through these emotions to provide every possible resource and effort
throughout the entire incident.”
Police and Fire at the scene were the Burns Harbor and Ogden Dunes PDs, the
Indiana State Police, the CSX Railroad Police, and Porter County Central
“The Porter County
Coroner’s Office would like to remind parents of small children to please
keep a vigilant eye on their children during these summer months when they
are more likely to roam outside,” Harris said.