Share This Page

No foul play ruled in Westmoreland County train death

| Monday, July 21, 2014, 10:30 p.m.

The death of a 22-year-old Somerset County man who was struck by a train on Sunday was not the result of foul play, according to the Westmoreland County coroner.

Christopher S. Reed, 22, of Windber had injuries “consistent with being struck by a train,” Coroner Ken Bacha said, adding that investigators have ruled out any suspicious activity.

Reed was struck by an eastbound Norfolk Southern train near Seward in eastern Westmoreland just before 1 a.m. Sunday, after spending the evening at a wedding reception.

An autopsy was performed on Monday morning.

Early suspicions that Reed could have been in a fight that led to his death proved to be unfounded, Bacha said. Investigators are trying to determine whether Reed's death was an accident or a suicide.

Norfolk Southern spokesman Dave Pidgeon said he could not comment on the speed of the train or other details of the incident because of the investigation.

Reed was employed as a caregiver at McCullough House, an assisted-living facility in Johnstown, a position he'd held for about a year. He took classes at the Conemaugh School of Nursing and was a student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2013.

“He was highly compassionate. He made everybody smile, and our elderly residents are going to miss him very greatly,” said Natalie Riccilli, community relations manager at McCullough House.

Friends and family posted condolences on Reed's Facebook page, describing him as a “good friend” and recalling his “goofy and hilarious” sense of humor.

His father, Stephen Reed, also of Windber, posted about the death on his own Facebook page.

“Chris was a loving, caring person. He was a good-hearted young man, who had a love for life that was so strong that it was infectious. Chris was a fierce friend to all who knew him. He was an absolutely wonderful son who I am so proud of,” he wrote.

Jacob Tierney is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6646 or jtierney@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.