Vermilion man stands in path of train

VERMILION A Vermilion man apparently committed suicide on Monday by standing in front of an oncoming
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

VERMILION

A Vermilion man apparently committed suicide on Monday by standing in front of an oncoming train in Vermilion Township.

The man was identified as Ronald F. Fletcher, 42, 100 block of North Compass Drive.

The incident happened near the Joppa and Poorman Roads crossing, close to his home.

The Norfolk Southern Railway Corp. reported the incident to the sheriff's office at 9:03 a.m.

According to reports, crew members of the 34-car westbound train spotted Fletcher as he emerged from a wooded area on the north side of the railroad tracks. Crew members watched as Fletcher walked onto the tracks and turned his back to the oncoming train, which was traveling at 45 mph.

Erie County Sheriff Captain Paul Sigsworth said the train was at least a few hundred feet away when they saw Fletcher, but a train of that size needs at least one-third of a mile to stop.

There was nothing the crew could do.

The accident didn't suspend traffic on any roads because the train cleared all crossings before the accident took place.

Sigsworth said emergency officials were on the scene for at least two hours. Fletcher's family was contacted by Erie County Sheriff officials after the incident.

"They were very emotionally upset obviously," Sigsworth said. "They did not indicate that he showed signs of committing suicide."

The scene is all too familiar, Sigsworth said, remembering a similar situation several years ago.

"Unfortunately, it's not uncommon," he said.

Sigsworth said he's not sure why Fletcher or anyone chooses to kill themselves in this way.

"It's obviously just a terrible tragedy," he said.

The Sheriff's office is waiting for the county coroner's report before they officially declare the incident a suicide.