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Local man is killed by train

'No reason to believe' excessive speed involved

August 04, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — A local man was killed by a train late Monday while allegedly "tagging" a building in Worcester.

According to Worcester Police, Michael Sclamo, 19, was with two other young men trying to escape an Amtrak passenger train that came upon them while they were "spray painting graffiti on an abandoned industrial building."

"At first they did not realize that the lights were from a train but then felt the ground start to tremble," Sgt. Kerry Hazelhurst wrote. "The train began to approach the three and the train began to warn them by sounding off the horn. The three were running and came upon a bridge, two of the three jumped out of the way but the victim hesitated on the bridge and that is when he was struck."

Federal Railroad Administration data show such incidents are, unfortunately, pretty common — an average of 481 people have been considered "trespass fatalities" annually since 2000 nationwide. Specifically, 434 died in 2009, the most recent tally available at the website of Operation Lifesaver, a nonprofit that aims to document and reduce train-related deaths.

The site notes such figures have been fairly stable for years, ranging from a low of 373 in 1976 to a high of 540 in 2002. Last year, Massachusetts had the 13th highest total, with 11 deaths.

See Thursday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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