TRENTON — People who know William E. Kingrey say it’s fitting he will be buried in a Cleveland Browns jersey.
Kingrey, 44, of Camden, who was fatally struck Monday morning by a CSX train in Trenton while walking to his job site, is to be buried on Christmas Eve in his Colt McCoy No. 12 jersey.
“That was his favorite player. He was excited when Texas Longhorn Colt McCoy became part of the Browns. He loved it,” said Kingrey’s pastor, the Rev. Greg Jackson of the First Southern Baptist Church in Camden.
At around 9 a.m. Monday, Kingrey, an Asplundh Tree Expert Co. worker known as “Willie” to his friends and family, was carrying a chain saw, a tree trimming pole and climbing gear as he crossed the train trestle over Elk Creek near the East State Street crossing. He was nearly clear of the south end of the trestle when he was struck from behind by the train headed from Cumberland, Md., to Cincinnati.
“He got caught on the trestle and couldn’t get off the trestle in time before he was struck,” said Trenton police Chief Tim Traud.
Clint Nigg, Butler County Coroner’s investigator, said Kingrey, who was pronounced dead at the scene, was pushed nearly 70 feet before the train stopped. Results of an autopsy performed Tuesday morning indicate Kingrey died of multiple trauma, he said. Toxicology tests were negative.
Gary Sease, a spokesman for CSX, said the train consisted of two locomotives and 40 rail cars — 18 loads of mixed freight and 22 empty containers. It was traveling an estimated 50 mph at the time of the accident, Traud said.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s investigation into the accident will focus primarily on Kingrey’s employer, said Bill Wilkerson, assistant area director at OSHA’s Cincinnati office. The Asplundh Tree Expert Co. office in Richmond, Ind., declined to comment.
Kingrey will be remembered as a fun-loving husband, youngest brother of three and a friend to many, who didn’t let congenital hearing loss in both ears limit him, said his sister Nancy McMurray.
McMurray said her brother was born premature and weighed just over 2 pounds. Because of his hearing loss, Kingrey attended two schools and was a graduate of both Meadowdale and Eaton high schools. Still, he was “always happy, cuttin’ up, and if you wanted anything done, he’d try to help you do it,” McMurray, 58, of West Alexandria said.
Kingrey also was known as one of the founders of the Lake Lakengren Ski Club along with his late father, Cletus, and for his love of breakdancing and water skiing. “He could ski barefooted. He could breakdance. He just had to move,” McMurray said with a laugh.
McMurray said Kingrey didn’t wear hearing aids but got along fine without them, though others said people had to speak loudly when talking to him, she said.
Jackson, who wouldn’t speculate on whether Kingrey’s hearing loss was a factor in the accident, said his death was a shock to everyone who knew him. Services on Friday will be especially tough because of the holidays, he said.
“For some things in life there just isn’t an answer for. We just have to trust God. Some things we just don’t understand, but what we do know is that there is hope beyond the grave,” Jackson said.
Visitation is 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Girton Schmidt & Boucher Gard Funeral Home, 226 W. Main St., Eaton. Funeral is 11 a.m. Friday at the funeral home, with burial at Fairview Cemetery in West Alexandria.
Staff Writers Lauren Pack, Hannah Poturalski and Denise Wilson contributed to this report.