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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.

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