Commonwealth Journal

Local News

May 9, 2013

Police seek help locating family of man killed by train

Somerset —

Somerset Police are releasing the identity of a man who was struck and killed by a train last week in hopes of finding his next of kin.
Joseph Richardson, 28, is the man who apparently walked head-on into the path of an oncoming train on Tuesday, April 30 near the West Columbia Street railroad crossing.
“The decision to release the name has not been one that was taken lightly,” said Lt. Shannon Smith of the Somerset Police Depart-ment (SPD). 
“We wanted to make every effort possible to notify the family in person so they didn’t find out through a media outlet,” he added. “As it appears, we haven’t been able to do that. Releasing his name in the media seems to be the only resort we have left to get the word out to family members who may be out there that this has taken place.”
On April 30, responders received a call as reported by the Norfolk Southern train dispatcher, saying that the locomotive had collided with an individual on the tracks. Smith himself was using SPD’s Guardian One gyroplane at the time and spotted the victim a good distance away from the area that was reported.
Richardson’s body was located a short distance from West Columbia Street crossing, which was recently closed to car traffic. Smith said that it was evident the victim was headed northbound on the track, while the train was going south.
“For whatever reason, he didn’t see it; maybe he thought he was on a clean line, or a number of different things,” said Smith on Tuesday. “The fact is, he shared the same track (as the train) despite going in converging directions.”
Smith said that Richardson had lived in Somerset for the past few years, but may have originally been from northern Kentucky. He apparently had a couple of addresses on Ohio Street in Somerset, but the most recent one has been “vacant for some time,” according to Smith.

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