Saratoga County

Answers sought in death on Mechanicville tracks

The investigation continued Thursday into the death of a man struck by a Pan Am Southern freight tra

The investigation continued Thursday into the death of a man struck by a Pan Am Southern freight train early Wednesday morning near the entrance to the Halfmoon rail yard.

The victim was identified late Wednesday as James G. Pelton of Mechanicville. He had a wife and children in Poughkeepsie, but was staying in Mechanicville while working at GlobalFoundries in Malta, police said.

Pelton, 42, was a contract employee at the Fab 8 complex, working for Dynamic Systems Inc., of Austin, Texas. The company fabricates and installs high-purity piping systems, air-handling systems and sanitary plumbing for industrial clients like the semiconductor industry, according to its website. It is one of dozens of construction contractors working on-site as GlobalFoundries installs new production equipment and expands.

Dynamic Systems did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.

Why Pelton was on the tracks remains unknown. Saratoga County Coroner Tom Salvatore said an autopsy done Thursday morning at Saratoga Hospital confirmed he died of traumatic injuries consistent with being hit by a train.

Mechanicville police are trying to piece together Pelton’s whereabouts prior to the accident and are asking anyone who may have been in contact with him Tuesday night and Wednesday morning to contact them.

“No foul play is suspected. It would appear to be a very tragic accident at this time,” Mechanicville police said in a statement.

The incident occurred around 4:40 a.m. Wednesday at the eastern entrance to the rail yard, in an open area next to the city public works garage.

According to police, the train’s engineer and conductor saw what appeared to be a pile of clothes on the tracks in the predawn darkness, then realized it was a person. The 100-car freight, coming from Ayer, Massachusetts, was unable to stop in time to avoid hitting Pelton.

The incident was the first pedestrian railroad fatality in Mechanicville in at least 20 years, though the southern Saratoga County city has been a railroad hub for well over a century. The rail yard has been revived in recent years as a transfer yard for Pan Am Southern’s intermodal loads.

Categories: Schenectady County

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