Man in wheelchair struck by train, killed in downtown Austell

An Austell man was killed Monday morning while crossing a railroad track in a motorized wheelchair, police said.
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An Austell man was killed Monday morning while crossing a railroad track in a motorized wheelchair, police said.

Credit: Lisette Brodey / Pixabay.com

Credit: Lisette Brodey / Pixabay.com

An Austell man in a motorized wheelchair was struck by a train and killed Monday morning while crossing the tracks with his dog, police said.

Gerald Hannon, 53, died about 11:30 a.m. while crossing the Norfolk Southern line at Powder Springs Road and Broad Street in downtown Austell, Officer Christi Hood told AJC.com.

Hannon’s small white dog that went everywhere with him ran off after the collision, police said. Now, members of the community have organized in the hope of finding it.

“Witnesses said he had a white dog that ran off, evidently jerked out of the collar and took off when the train came,” Austell Police Chief Bob Starrett said. “We’re looking for that dog but we haven’t found it yet.”

Police said  Hannon lived nearby and was well known in the community.

Witnesses told officers that Hannon was struck and killed after crossing the tracks while the crossing arms were down and the train horn was blowing, Starrett said.

In a statement, officials with Norfolk Southern said the railroad crossing was equipped with gates, bells and lights that were all in working order.

“An initial investigation indicated that the man, who was in a motorized wheelchar, attempted to cross the tracks by going around the crossing gates as the train approached,” the statement read.

According to the railroad company, the empty grain train that struck Hannon was traveling from Albany to Dwight, Illinois, at the time.

The crash remains under investigation, but anyone who sees Hannon’s dog is asked to call Austell police at 770-944-4320.

In other news: 

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Surveillance video shows him dressed in his police gear that included a bulletproof vest, hat, full uniform, a gun and even a police badge.