A man was struck and injured by a passing train Thursday morning on tracks near Hillhurst Park, police said.
The unidentified man survived, even though the 40-car train passed directly over him. The man had been lying directly between the rails, Public Safety Commissioner Wayne Bennett said.
The 44-year-old Schenectady man was even able to get up and walk away. Police and paramedics finally caught up with him a short time later on Campbell Avenue, Bennett said. He had arm and leg injuries.
Bennett did not identify the man because he was taken into custody for a mental health evaluation. That the man survived was remarkable, Bennett said.
“Every once in a while, you see something that should have ended up far different than it did,” Bennett said. “He was very fortunate.”
The incident happened just before 10 a.m., Bennett said. The train’s conductor spotted the man ahead and was able to react quickly enough to slow the train’s speed to about 20 mph. The conductor, though, was unable to stop the train completely, and the entire train passed over him.
Once the train passed, the man, who was bleeding, got up and walked off toward Hillhurst Park, Bennett said. By that time, state police and city police had been notified, with officers sent to the area, Bennett said. Air support was also requested to help find the man, but ultimately was not needed.
Police searched the tracks and paths through the wooded area toward the park, police spokesman Sgt. Matthew Dearing said. Surrounding police departments were also notified. The man was finally spotted about 10:30 in front of a residence on Campbell Avenue.
Despite what he had just been through, Dearing said the man wasn’t very talkative.
“I believe he was pretty quiet," Dearing said. "He didn’t really say too much.”
He was taken to Ellis Hospital for treatment of his wounds, but also taken into custody by police under state mental hygiene law to determine if any mental health issues exist.
Exactly what led the man to be on the tracks was unclear. Police are looking into possibilities that include a suicide attempt or that he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The train’s conductor confirmed the man taken into custody was the man on the tracks. Once police determined no one else was struck, the train was allowed to go on its way, Bennett said.
Bennett identified the train as a CSX train. A spokeswoman for the company, though, found no record of the incident, noting that other railroads also operate in the area.