Bethlehem Press

Monday, November 18, 2019

MACUNGIE POLICE

Monday, April 1, 2019 by The Press in Police Log

Pedestrian struck

A 35-year-old Fountain Hill man suffered fatal injuries when he was struck by a train along railroad tracks in Macungie borough.

In a media release from the Lehigh County Coroner’s Office and Forensics Center, authorities identified Gregory Wippel, of Fountain Hill, as the man pronounced dead by Lehigh County Deputy Coroner Craig Hanzl 10:24 p.m. March 30 on the railroad tracks east of Route 100 in the borough.

The cause of death was found to be multiple traumatic injuries due to a train versus pedestrian collision, according to the coroner’s office.

The manner of death remains under investigation.

The investigation by Macungie police also continues, Sgt. Travis Kocher, officer in charge, said by telephone April 1.

Kocher emphasized it is a local and federal trespassing violation to be on the tracks at any time.

“It is absolutely prohibited,” Kocher said.

Norfolk Southern, the owner of the train line involved in the accident, provided the following statement to The Press:

“At approximately 9:45 p.m. March 29, a Norfolk Southern train struck and fatally injured a pedestrian walking on the tracks in Lehigh County.

“The train crew sounded the train’s horn and put the train in braking, but could not avoid striking the person.

“The mixed-freight train, consisting of two locomotives and 91 rail cars, was en route to Conway.

“Norfolk Southern personnel assisted local law enforcement in investigating the incident.

“Norfolk Southern reminds the public that it is extremely dangerous and also trespassing to walk on or within the right-of-way of railroad tracks. People should cross tracks only at designated crossings and use extreme caution. “

The train tracks should not be used by pedestrians.

“The associated risk is never worth the minutes,” Kocher said of using train tracks as a shortcut or an alternate route of travel.

The accident closed the tracks and Macungie’s Main Street for approximately two hours, requiring traffic to be detoured, Kocher said.