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Worthington man struck by train

WORTHINGTON -- A 37-year-old Worthington man was struck by a Union Pacific (UP) train at approximately 7:40 a.m. Monday near the 12th Street and First Avenue intersection.

The victim, identified in an incident report as Changkuoth Makel Chuol, was taken to Sanford Regional Hospital Worthington by ambulance, and later airlifted to Sioux Falls, S.D.

Worthington Police Sgt. Jason Beckmann said the extent of Chuol's injuries were unknown to law enforcement.

Local authorities had not yet spoken to the man, Beckmann said, but two witnesses had given statements to a detective from the Worthington Police Department. The incident is still under investigation, Beckmann explained, but the witness' statements are leading authorities to believe it was an accident and not intentional on the victim's part.

The incident was reported by a UP employee, and other UP employees were sent to Worthington to investigate.

"We learned the person may have been crawling under the train when it moved," said Mark Davis, Director of Relations and Media for UP. He was not sure if the train was already moving when the incident occurred, or if Chuol was under the train when it began to move.

Davis said UP generally sends investigators, which can include a railroad police officer, mechanical engineers and operating managers to speak to the crew.

"They interviewed the crew and offered them peer support, because naturally something like this is very horrific," Davis explained. "I don't have information about whether or not they accepted that yet."

Davis said his last update was from shortly after noon, when the company was informed the victim had serious injuries, but they were not given details of the injuries.

According to a media relations spokesperson at Sanford Health USD Medical Center, Sioux Falls, no information on Chuol's condition was available.

The incident came hours after a report of a 9-year-old girl being hit by a train Sunday in Sioux Falls while walking her dog on railroad tracks on the southeast side of the city.