An elderly man on a mobility device died after he was hit by a train at a rail crossing in Camrose on Sunday.
Camrose police received several 911 calls at around 8:45 p.m., when witnesses reported the collision between the senior and a Canadian Pacific train on 53 Street between 51 and 52 Avenue.
Police, Fire, EMS and C.P. Rail police responded and determined the 71-year-old man, who died at the scene, was driving a mobility device south when he was struck by an eastbound train.
The victim was identified by police as Kenneth Johanson of Camrose.
Witnesses confirmed the signal crossing lights were flashing, the audible bell was ringing and the train sounded its horn, but was unable to avoid hitting the man. The rail crossing does not have arms that prevent people from going across.
Area residents told Global News that Johanson lived a few blocks away from where the collision occurred and that they often saw him on his motorized scooter with his dog.
The collision happened in the centre of town, where the tracks are surrounded by homes and businesses, and several people saw the deadly collision.
Because of that, a community briefing took place at Sparling School on Wednesday afternoon.
Police said anyone affected by the death was invited to attend the event, which was also attended by Camrose police members, a police chaplain, victim services and service dogs.
“It disturbed a lot of people,” said Deputy Chief Lee Foreman of the Camrose Police Service. “It’s a terrible thing to have witnessed and we want to put some closure on it and help with the healing process.”
Dianne Ferguson said she knew Johanson and rushed to the scene when she heard about the collision.
“I went over and as soon as I saw the wreck… I knew exactly who it was,” she said, adding that she identified the body. “It was horrid.
“He was very nice, a really nice gentleman. He’d help out anybody. He didn’t deserve this.”
“We’re all pretty much in shock,” said Tara Hart, who said she lived in the neighbourhood.
Area residents told Global News Johanson was with his dog at the time of the collision but that the dog was not hurt. The pet is now being cared for by one of his friends.
The Camrose Police Service and C.P. Police Service continue to investigate.
Camrose is about 80 kilometres southeast of Edmonton.
–With files from Global News’ Phil Heidenreich