Woman dies on railroad crossing

COLUMBIANA — The death of a 38-year-old woman struck by a train here Saturday morning is under investigation by the city police department and several other agencies.

Police Chief Tim Gladis identified the victim as Courtney Dickey, whose address had not been confirmed as of last night, although he said her driver’s license indicated she was from New Waterford. Other information indicated she may be from Middleton, the chief said.

Dickey was the only occupant of the Chevy Blazer which was dragged upon impact by the Norfolk-Southern train about 100 yards west of the crossing at South Main and West Railroad streets. The car was not registered to Dickey, but the owner was not immediately identified.

A caller reported at 5 a.m. a suspicious vehicle on the tracks inside the gates, which were down. As a train approached, there was no apparent attempt to move the vehicle, which was struck directly in the driver’s side, according to Gladis, who said it had been struck before officers could arrive and offer any assistance.

“We don’t know why she was sitting there,” Gladis said, saying he is awaiting toxicology tests from the county coroner’s office which would show if drugs or alcohol were a factor and saying suicide is also an option that has to be looked at.

The chief said officers believe everything regarding the train’s operation was normal, just that it was unable to stop in order to avoid a collision when it came upon the vehicle.

Although the city police department is heading the investigation, Gladis said the county coroner’s office, the Norfolk-Southern Railroad police department and an accident reconstructionist from the Ohio State Highway Patrol are also involved.

“It’s been a tough morning for everyone,” Gladis said.