Woman killed by train identified

Police suspect Saturday night death was suicide
Alissa Widman Neese
Jan 12, 2014

Huron police have identified the woman killed by a train Saturday night in Huron Township.

Robyn Hodgkinson, 45, of Huron, died at about 10:20 p.m. Saturday after walking in front of the train near Rye Beach Road, Huron police Chief Bob Lippert said.

While investigating, every indication led police to believe the act was a suicide, Lippert said. Hodgkinson's car was parked in the grass near the tracks.

The Erie County coroner will provide the final ruling of death at a later date.


If you or someone you know needs help, the National Suicide Prevention Line is 800-273-TALK.

The local Firelands Mental Health Hotline is 800-826-1306.


Original post, 11:45 p.m. Saturday:

A train struck and killed a person in Huron Township late Saturday night, but officials aren't releasing any details about the situation.

Huron police and firefighters and Erie County Sheriff's deputies responded to the railroad tracks on Rye Beach Road, near BGSU Firelands, where a train was stopped at a crossing, blocking traffic at about 10:30 p.m. 

When the Register arrived at the scene, a covered body was lying at the crossing and a car had been parked in the grass nearby. The Erie County coroner transported the body from the scene.

Deputies referred the Register to Huron police, who said the incident is a death investigation and they would not release any further information. They told the Register to call Huron police Chief Bob Lippert on Sunday morning.

They wouldn't confirm if the person was a man or woman, although police scanner traffic indicated the person was a woman.



I feel bad for the people who had to see the aftermath of this. I couldn't do it.


Damn, I wish ppl would not choose this option for suicide. The train employees will have to live with this the rest of their lives. I feel for those who believe there are no other options but death; however, harming others in the process is completely uncalled for. My condolences to the person's friends and family, as well as to the employees of the train.

Really are you ...

What if the person loved watching trains? What if this person was standing beside the cross bucks? As the train approached, the alert system activated, and the arm that extends across the oncoming traffic portion of the road. What if that arm karate chopped that person in the head?


That's a lot of what ifs!!!!!!!!!!!!




Do you know something we don't. I did not read that anywhere in the article.

Common Sense

It may not be there in black and white, but it is a common scenario. Someone "near the crossing" seems to indicate that the person was close enough to hear and avoid the train. Also, the writer noted that an empty car was nearby.


Yeh it pretty much spells it out...car parked nearby in grass, killed near crossing...




The car was the victims.....my sympathy to the family..


people that commit suicide are not in their right minds at the time nor are they thinking about how their actions will affect others. they feel desperate and that death is the only option. it's very sad.


Geez and to think the Register didn't make it on time to take photos. I bet somebody on the staff is severely disappointed. Sick sensationism!


sensationalism. and pics would have been great!


If you really want to see pics like that, go to the Bestgore dot com site. The only thing I don't like is the naked ads on the right. You don't have to login or sign up or anything.


Unfortunately they did...thank goodness the police kept them back.


The insatiable appetite for this is sickening


If this was self inflicted, I'm no expert, but I don't think they put much thought in how it gets done, they just want it over quickly. I once had a wonderful geometry teacher in high school. One day someone saw him sitting on railroad tracks with a box of tissues just before a freight train hit him. No one ever found out why he did it. My sincerest condolences to the family.


My sympathy to the train crew as well .

No one ever thinks what this kind of action (whether deliberate or not OR dare trying to beat the train) does to the guys aboard the trains. And lord, knows this newspaper never ever runs a story from that perspective.

....Speaking as a railroader's kid.

Alissa Widman Neese's picture
Alissa Widman Neese

Starryeyes83, if your parent or anyone they know has been in a tragic situation involving a train suicide, I would certainly be willing to talk to them and write a story from that perspective, if they are willing to talk. My email is widman@sanduskyregister.com and my phone number is 419-609-5849.

I think that is a valuable perspective and it's one I've wanted to pursue for a long time, but I've never been in contact with anyone willing to talk about it.


Okay!!!!!!!!!!!!! Star?


Alissa, Thank you so much for the offer but this was thirty plus years ago and most of them (as far as I know) are gone now, I wouldn't even begin to know who all my father worked with. I wish I did.

However, you have an opportunity to talk to the folks who have been involved in the recent events. I will tell you one thing for certain; I watched my Dad go through hell due to actions that were not the fault of the train crew.

Not once - but twice.

And you are correct it's like trying to get a Vet to open up about combat stories (my Dad is also a Korea vet) , most of them don't wish to relive it. Dad is getting up there and his memory isn't great.

Alissa Widman Neese's picture
Alissa Widman Neese

Starryeyes83, thank you for sharing your story and I'm sorry to hear you and your family had to endure this.

I will do my best to try and find someone who could share this information with me, if they're up to it. I agree that it would be a valuable perspective to share with our readers, but unfortunately, as you said, it's easier said than done.


Thank you, Alissa, Good luck, keep in mind though Legally they may not be allowed to say anything public for a period of several years.

The RR headquarters may provide you information in regards to company mental health counselors if they have them , as might the Brotherhood of Conductors, Brakemen and Engineers ( I think that was the union ) for N & W RR , now called N & S. Or whichever railroad this was.

Good Luck.

Alissa Widman Neese's picture
Alissa Widman Neese

Thank you!


Alissa, I will check with a friend who is a retired engineer (30 years) to see if he has any stories he cares to share. I will give him your contact info, Kingsin

Stop It

My brother used to work out at the yard under and by Rt.4 in Bellevue as an electrician. He told me many times of seeing stuff one ought not to see on the front of the locomotives. He told me to stop at every crossing, lights, gates or not and act as if those cross-bucks were stop signs. I do. Those things don't stop on a dime and give you nine cents change.


"Don't stop on a dime".. Heard that more than once it was like A railroaders creed or something. Man, the lectures we used to get. And "Do you know how far braking distance is, young lady? Because whatever number you come up with ain't long enough". Point taken.


I know it's a big if but there's another if possibility and this is a long stretch of the imagination, but what if the car broke down and the person was walking to get to a phone to try and call someone and saw that the gates were down but thought they could get across before the train got there and didn't make it. I don't know, I guess I just don't want to think that anyone that is thinking about suicide would want to hurt someone else too. My thoughts go out to the families of both the deceased and the railroad personnel.


Thank you candleburner for another perspective. People are so quick to jump to conclusions. Prayers the the victims family and to the railroaders who witnessed this tragedy.


You're right, looooooong stretch!