A 19-year-old male was struck by a moving train Saturday in Carbondale around 2:50 a.m. while attempting to jump onto the train, according to a Carbondale police report.
Michael Assefa, of Frankfort, was first brought to Memorial Hospital of Carbondale but was later taken to St. Louis with life-threatening injuries. He is not a SIUC student.
Assefa’s condition has improved and he is now speaking, said the Rev. Robert Gray, Carbondale Police Department’s chaplain.
Assefa attempted to jump onto the moving train, which was headed northbound on the railroad tracks, according to the Carbondale police.
A message about the incident was posted around 2 p.m. Saturday on Mayor Joel Fritzler’s “Carbondale for Joel Fritzler” Facebook page, stating the male had a blood alcohol content of .273, but police say they are waiting on results of the victim’s blood alcohol content to determine if he was intoxicated at the time of the incident.
The message, which is no longer posted on the page, stated: ”First Polar Bear casualty took place this (Saturday) morning just after the bars closed when a 19 year old male with a .273 BAC tried to jump onto a freight train. Human bones between metal train wheels and metal train tracks usually doesn’t end well. Was it worth it?”
The victim continues to be provided medical treatment.
A 19-year-old man seriously injured when he fell while trying to jump onto a train early Saturday morning has been identified and his medical condition is described as “improving.”
“He is in the hospital in St. Louis receiving medical treatment,” said Carbondale police chaplain Rev. Robert Gray, who has been in contact with the victim’s family. “He is talking and improving.”
Michael Assefa of Frankfort was injured at about 2:50 a.m. Saturday. Carbondale police reported Assefa fell while attempting to jump onto a moving CN freight train traveling north on the tracks in the 1100 block of South Illinois Avenue.
CN spokesperson Patrick Waldron said the train was traveling from Memphis to Chicago and was delayed north of Carbondale after the accident.
“This incident is a sad reminder that people should always use caution around railroad property, and never trespass on railroad tracks or climb on trains or other railroad equipment,” Waldron said.
Gray said he’s spoken with Assefa’s father, who asked for prayers for his son’s recovery.