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Police: Man sat cross-legged on downtown Fargo tracks before being hit by train

FARGO - Just moments before being struck by a westbound freight train in downtown Fargo early Wednesday morning, a man was sitting cross-legged on the tracks and didn't move when the train's conductor blared its horn.

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Police at the scene where Derrick Van Jongeward was hit by a passing train in downtown Fargo on Wednesday, July 22, 2015. Rick Abbott / The Forum

FARGO – Just moments before being struck by a westbound freight train in downtown Fargo early Wednesday morning, a man was sitting cross-legged on the tracks and didn’t move when the train’s conductor blared its horn.

Police identified the injured man as Derrick Van Jongeward, 49. They had no permanent address for him. Fargo Police Sgt. Matt Christensen said officers have dealt with Jongeward before, but couldn’t say in what capacity.

Jongeward was sitting at the railroad crossing at Fourth Street North, just north of Fifth Avenue, shortly before 2 a.m. when the train struck him.

According to Christensen, the train’s conductor saw Jongeward and blew the train’s horn, but Jongeward didn’t move. The metal guard on the front of the engine likely pushed Jongeward or “spun him a little bit,” to the southern area of the tracks, Christensen said.

Jongeward’s foot was sliced just below the ankle, Christensen said, and it looked like it was “cut pretty good,” though did not appear to be severed.

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Christensen couldn’t say if Jongeward was intoxicated at the time of the incident. Jongeward was taken to Sanford Medical Center for injuries sustained to his foot and "serious internal injuries," police said. His condition was unavailable early Wednesday night.

The crossing arms were down at the time, with lights and alarms sounding.

While Jongeward was being treated by paramedics in the ambulance, an officer could be seen bringing an item in a bag from the tracks to the ambulance. Christensen said the item was likely Jongeward’s shoe.

Christensen said he didn’t think Jongeward would face any charges stemming from the incident.

Related Topics: ACCIDENTS
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