Sheriff’s office identifies fatality in pedestrian and train crash as high school student, says it was a ‘terrible accident’

Published: May. 31, 2023 at 12:17 PM EDT
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FENTON (WBNG) -- The Broome County Sheriff’s Office ruled the death of a Chenango Valley High School student as an accident.

The sheriff’s office announced Tuesday morning that it was investigating a fatal crash between a pedestrian and a train in the Town of Fenton. Crocker Hill Road and Depot Hill Road were closed for hours as deputies investigated.

The student has been identified as 17-year-old Jakob McCloe of Port Crane. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

An investigation determined McCloe was walking westbound on the Norfolk Southern Railroad Tracks and appeared to be wearing noise-canceling headphones and was not able to hear the train approaching. The engineer of the train tried to signal multiple times to get McCloe’s attention. However, the sheriff’s office said McCloe still appeared unaware that the train was approaching.

The engineer was unable to stop the train and McCloe was then struck and killed, the office said.

“After a thorough investigation of the scene, extensive interviews and a review of camera footage of the train, our detectives have determined that this tragic loss of life was nothing other than a terrible accident,” said Sheriff Fred Akshar. “On behalf of the Broome County Sheriff’s Office, our hearts go out to Jakob McCloe’s family, friends and the students and faculty of the Chenango Valley High School community.”

Chenango Valley High School Principal Jennifer Ostrander sent a letter home to families regarding McCloe’s death Tuesday.

“This is an incredibly difficult time for our community, and our thoughts and condolences go out to the family and loved ones of the student,” the letter said. “We ask that you respect the privacy of the family during this difficult time and that we come together as a community to offer our condolences and support.”

A Wednesday, a letter from Interim Superintendant Michelle Feyerbend provided sources for Chenango Valley families to provide resources for students and staff who are grieving.

“It is vital that we are sensitive to the individual needs of each child as they process this tragic event,” Feyerbend said. “Please take the time to listen, comfort, and reassure them that their emotions are valid and that it is normal to feel a range of emotions during times like these.”