published Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Soddy-Daisy: Man killed by train while trying to save dog

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Neighbors who live near the train tracks knew something was wrong.

The train, which normally only blows the horn at crossings at about 4 p.m., continued to blow Tuesday. Then a man’s voice, calling desperately for his dog, brought 26-year-old Ashley Copeland to her front door.

She helplessly watched as the scene unfolded as the train struck and killed a 50-year-old Soddy-Daisy man as he was trying to get his pet off the tracks.

“The dog wasn’t moving. At that point, you couldn’t see the train yet. You could hear it,” said Copeland, who lives across the street in a small white frame house near Bean Street and Dallas Daisy Road and is used to watching the train travel north.

Copeland said the man was bent down, pleading with the dog and repeating, “Come here. Come here.”

“As I was watching, I thought he was going to pick up the dog and step over [the tracks], but it didn’t play out that way,” she said.

According to accounts, the man went too close to the train trying to retrieve the dog and was struck, killing him instantly.

Soddy-Daisy police Lt. Jeff Gann, who is a relative of the man, said police have yet to release the man’s name, pending notification of family members.

“Evidently, the train got closer than he thought it was,” said Gann, who met Tuesday with the man’s family members at Daisy Church of God Ministry off Dayton Pike.

Neighbors said the man was sometimes seen walking with the dog near the railroad tracks.

It’s unclear where the black dog went after the collision. Neighbors tried searching for the animal but never found it or a body.

In the meantime, the scene replays for Copeland.

“It was pretty traumatic. I don’t think I’ll be watching the train go by for awhile,” she said.

The man’s body was sent to the Hamilton County medical examiner’s office, police said.

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