Boy dead, toddler sister critically injured after hit by freight train in NW Indiana

Contributed photo courtesy of WGN

PORTAGE, Ind. (WGNtv)— A 3-year-old boy was killed and his 2-year-old sister was seriously injured after they were struck by a freight train Tuesday morning, police confirm.

While responding to calls of a child struck by a train around 9:30 a.m., the first officer to arrive on the scene found a 3-year-old boy had been killed and his sister was injured but actively crying, Portage Police Department Chief Troy Williams said in a statement. Portage Fire Department personnel provided treatment for the girl before she was airlifted to Comers Children’s Hospital.

Police say the boy, identified by the Porter County Coroner as Caleb Wilson, lived with his sister at the Woodland Village Mobile Home Park, just north of where the accident occurred. According to a preliminary investigation, the toddlers snuck out of a screen door of their home and made their way to the railroad tracks.

The conductor of the eastbound CSX train told police that when he saw the children on the tracks he blew the horn and attempted to stop the train, but he was unable to avoid striking them.

“This tragedy undeniably affected the first responders as several were visibly shaken by what occurred but worked through those emotions to provide every possible resource and effort throughout the entire incident,” Chief Williams said.

Several other departments assisted in the investigation and emergency response, Williams said.

“The Porter County Coroner’s Office would like to remind parents of small children to please keep a vigilant eye on their children during these summer months when they are more likely to roam outside,” the coroner said in a statement.