Man dead after trying to beat a train - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Man dead after trying to beat a train

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August 11, 2007

Ashburn -- Several roads that lead to and from downtown Ashburn are divided by these railroad tracks. "Yesterday, the train had that road blocked, that one and that one," said Ashburn resident, Sam Holton.

A road block that can get very frustrating for drivers. "When the train come through here they usually slow down and you have traffic backed up here," said Holton. 

But last night one man on his bicycle took a chance on West Washington and North Main Street and didn't make it.

"Upon the officers arrival, they discovered that a man on a bike had been struck by a northbound Norfolk train," said Ashburn Police Chief, Bryant McCard.

Thirty-four year old Durane Felton Thornton was killed instantly after the train hit him at 43 miles-per-hour. The collision so strong that his body was thrown over 80 feet away from the original point of impact.

"All the cross beams, the lights, the crossing arms were functional at the time," said McCard. 

A witness of the accident confirmed that the crossing arms were already down for about  five seconds when Thornton rode his bike between them almost making it across.

"An inventory of the victim at the coroner's office included a bag of green leafy substance found  in his left shirt pocket. Upon finding that we drew his blood and, it was sent to the crime lab in Moultrie for testing," said McCard.

Those in the town who knew Thornton say that he was mentally challenged. Regardless, the residents of Ashburn know one thing. "I don't try to beat the train because nine times out of ten you are going to lose," said Holton.

The Ashburn Police chief said that it could be months before they get Thornton's blood results back.

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