Saturday, May 17, 2008

Wheelchair user killed when hit by train

A Carbondale, Ill., man, Darrell Allsup, 69, died May 13 after a passing freight train struck him at the Walnut Street (eastbound Illinois 13) railroad crossing, according to The Southern Illinoisan.

Initially, witnesses said it appeared Allsup's wheelchair may have been stuck on the train tracks.
Authorites now say that doesn't appear to be the case. Carbondale Police Chief Bob Ledbetter said: "Based upon our investigation and the statements of witnesses at the scene, we do not believe the wheelchair was stuck on the track. Mr. Allsup was simply trying to get across the tracks. It's just a very unfortunate incident."

On a side note, I used to be a reporter at The Southern Illinoisan so I was ashamed to see the paper used the incorrect term, "wheelchair-bound," in its first headlines on the stories about the incident. I wrote about the inaccuracy of the term early in this blog.

In a tragedy avoided on the same day of May 13, a man in Lodi, Calif., saved the life of an elderly woman whose motorized wheelchair tipped over when she crossed a railroad track there, KTLA-TV reported. And to be fair in my criticism, the KTLA-TV Web site story also used the inaccurate term "wheelchair-bound," too.