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Boy Killed Lying on Railroad Tracks

May 17, 1985

EAST BROOKFIELD, Mass. (AP) _ A young dirt bike rider who lay injured on railroad tracks was struck and killed by a train after the town’s police chief frantically tried to wave off the approaching train, police say.

Police Chief Erik L. Hunderup, called to the scene when the boy was injured in a fall from his bike, was struck on the right arm by the train as he jumped from its path just moments before it struck the boy.

Joseph H. Messier, 12, of East Brookfield, was thrown 80 feet when hit by the train. State police said he was pronounced dead at the scene by a medical examiner.

Hunderup said he was leaning over Messier giving him first aid when two other young boys told him the Conrail train was coming.

″I waved both arms. I could see the engineer reach out the window and wave me off the track,″ he told the Worcester Telegram. ″In a split second I realized he wasn’t going to stop. I jumped and the train hit my right arm and knocked me to the ground.″

Hunderup said Messier had suffered a broken right arm, a possible broken hip and head injuries in his fall.

Messier’s passenger, Michael Russo, 15, of East Brookfield, was admitted to Harrington Memorial Hospital in Southbridge for observation. He was listed in fair condition.

A witness, Patrick Sullivan, 15, told police he saw Messier and Russo riding the bike in a ditch just before the bike went out of control and spilled the riders onto the railroad tracks.

The train was made up of three engines and had no cars.

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