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Victim In Mechanicville Train Accident Identified

Lucas Willard

 Update 3/26/15:

The victim has been identified as 42-year-old James Pelton. Police said Pelton was from Poughkeepsie and an employee at GlobalFoundries. Our original story is below.

A freight train struck and killed a pedestrian early Wednesday morning in the Southern Saratoga County city of Mechanicville, a hub for rail traffic in the region.

The Pan-Am Southern train was traveling west from Ayer, Massachusetts when it struck a pedestrian near the intersection of Railroad St. and Viall Avenue.

Authorities were at the scene Wednesday morning beside the city public works building.

Mechanicville Police Chief Joe Waldron….

“At approximately 5 a.m. this morning the Mechanicville police department received a call from the railroad reporting that train may have struck a person. Mechanciville police responded and we did confirm that a person was struck by the train.”

Mechanicville Police were investigating along with assistance from railroad police and the Saratoga County Sheriff’s office. An accident reconstruction was being performed.

Again, Chief Waldron. …

“What basically occurs is we have a total station here, which basically memorializes everything the way it was, and really identifies for us what has taken place. It’s a great tool for us – it’s a one-piece tool, but it’s an excellent one. That’s why we’re taking the time to make sure we do this and get it done,” said the chief.

The body was underneath the second engine of the train and was only identified as a white male.

The train was at least 100-cars long and blocked off the Viall Avenue intersection in Mechanicville Wednesday morning. The train stretched across a railroad bridge into neighboring Schaghticoke in Rensselaer County.

According to Mechanicville Police, the Viall Avenue crossing was later reopened to vehicle traffic. Authorities with Saratoga and Rensselaer Counties said there were no crossings reported blocked as of Wednesday afternoon.

None of train cars derailed and nobody on board was injured.

As of press time, authorities were still at the scene.  Plenty was still unclear Wednesday afternoon, including whether the accident was a suicide, the speed of the train, and the name of the victim.

Saratoga County Coroner Tom Salvador said once the body is removed an autoposy will be performed at Saratoga Hospital. 

“We will move him to Saratoga Hospital to do a post-mortem exam on him tomorrow.”

Cynthia Scarano, Executive Vice President at Pan Am Railways, said the matter is still under investigation.

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.
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