Fort Branch officials clean up after fatal train accident

A man laying on train tracks is hit by a train overnight Friday. It happened around 2:30 a.m. at the Locust St. crossing near Vine St. in Fort Branch.

The man is dead, and authorities are trying to find out what happened.

Firefighters say a CSX train conductor headed south through Fort Branch, and saw a man, identified as Stephen M. Heidt, 46, of Cynthiana, lying in across the tracks, but couldn't stop for miles.

Authorities searched the area in the early morning darkness. It was an unsettling sight for people like Donald Roberts, who eats breakfast every day at the Town Square Diner across the street.

"Most of the time it's peaceful."

Fort Branch Fire Chief Mike Sokeland says since crossing arms were installed at these intersections, it's unusual for them as well.

"It was hard to look at, and hard to deal with. The Gibson County Sheriff's Department has their chaplain here, talking to the them and stuff, so there is someone here for support."

Situations like this often have a big impact in such a small town.

"A lot of people are really close with everybody in the community. Everybody is one big family here," says resident Alex Seaver.

State police, sheriff's deputies, Fort Branch Police and Fire, and the coroner all worked together trying to get answers for a town filled with questions.

CSX investigators were on scene early Friday morning as well, conducting their own investigation.

The autopsy on Heidt is scheduled for Monday but preliminarily, officials are saying he died when he was hit by the train.

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