Citizens, officers honored for efforts in train crash
LEETONIA- Village officials Wednesday night recognized the officers and citizens who assisted with an incident in which a vehicle was struck by a train last month.
At the start of the village council meeting, Mayor Kevin Siembida and Police Chief Allen Haueter presented plaques and certifications of appreciation to officers Logan Malik and Alan Shaffer, as well as citizens Jeremy Linderman and Glenn Buzzard for action above and beyond the call of duty to assist on the incident in which an elderly couple had gotten their vehicle stuck on the Chestnut Street tracks with a train approaching.
The 92-year-old husband, Ronald Davies, survived, but his 89-year-old wife, Sally Davies, died in the crash. Haueter said Ronald Davies has since been released from the hospital to an assisted living facility.
Siembida praised the four men, as well as the fire department, EMS department and dispatchers, for their actions that day.
“By the time I arrived…I saw a remarkable thing happening, the action these people were taking,” he said.
Siembida said they deserve to be recognized for their heroism.
“They certainly went above and beyond the expectations for civilians or law enforcement,” Haueter added later, noting that Malik was even brushed by a train car. “The engineer believed he had struck an officer…he said it is one of the most heroic acts he had ever seen (on the railway).”
Both Linderman and Buzzard said they only did what they felt was right thing to do in the situation.
The Davies family attended the presentation to thank the men.
According to the police report, Malik had been sitting in his cruiser in the Family Dollar parking lot, nearing the end of his shift, when he saw the vehicle get stuck on the tracks at 6:02 a.m. Haueter said the Davies’ vehicle had traveled west on Columbia Street and turned right to travel north on Chestnut Street to cross the tracks, made it across the first set of tracks, the south side, then it looked like the front end went slightly off the road and was over the north side tracks. Malik responded and as he was talking to them and trying to get them out, the gates came down and he saw that a westbound train was coming on the tracks where the vehicle was located.
An eastbound train was also off in the distance but was able to stop. Haueter said the westbound train attempted to stop and locked up its brakes, but couldn’t get stopped in time and went on for at least a mile.