Rootstown man killed by train

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A Rootstown man was killed early this morning after being struck by an Amtrak train.

Tim Freeland, 53, was walking along the extreme east edge of the outer tracks at the intersection of Lynn and John Smith roads in Rootstown, according to Tom Decker, chief investigator with the Portage County Coroner’s Office. 

The southbound train was coming from behind him and blew its horn, but Freeland apparently did not have time to react. He was struck by the train and then went over the embankment, Decker said.

An autopsy will be conducted at the Summit County Medical Examiner’s office to determine the exact nature of his injuries.

Decker said Freeland walks along the tracks daily to meet with his brother to go to work, and the incident was “purely accidental.” He speculated that because the conductor reported that Freeland waved when the train blew its whistle, he might have thought a train was coming from the north. Instead, the southbound train was behind him.

The train and its passengers were held at the scene until about 9 a.m. while an investigation was conducted on the scene. 

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