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North Belle Vernon man struck by train in Lower Speers

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Thursday, May 15, 2014, 3:33 p.m.

A North Belle Vernon man was reportedly flown to a Pittsburgh hospital Thursday morning for emergency surgery after he was struck by a train in Lower Speers.

Shaun Kovacs, 25, of 320 Henry St., was struck by the train around 7:15 a.m., approximately 40 feet away from a railroad crossing at state Route 88 and Pennsylvania Avenue, Charleroi Regional police confirmed.

Police from Norfolk Southern and Charleroi Regional are conducting a joint investigation. Kovacs was identified and his immediate family notified, police said.

Charleroi Regional Police Detective Lt. Eric Porter said medical personnel placed Kovacs on a stretcher and transported him by ambulance to a medical helicopter.

Kovacs was then reportedly flown to Allegheny General Hospital. Hospital spokeswoman Jennifer Davis said Kovacs was not listed as a patient, but that could be because he came in through the emergency department. Norfolk Southern public relations manager Dave Pidgeon said the train was carrying 130 empty cars and heading southbound when the incident occurred. Two crew members were on board and did not suffer any injuries.

In seeing Kovacs on the tracks, the conductor applied the brakes, but was not able to come to a complete stop in a short distance. The train remained idle until approximately 9:30 a.m., Pidgeon said.

Although a joint investigation was being conducted, Pidgeon referred all other questions to Charleroi Regional police.

Kovacs is a 2005 graduate of Belle Vernon Area High School.

Rick Bruni Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 724-684-2635.

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