Like nearly any 3-year-old boy, Caleb Wilson had a thing for trains, and his little sister, Ellie, was attached to his hip, following her big brother everywhere she could.
But Caleb’s love of trains may have been what ended his young life.
The children’s family told police that Caleb and Ellie snuck out of the Portage, Indiana, home without their parents or other adults knowing. As the adults searched for the missing children, a freight train hit the toddlers, the NWI Times reported.
Officer Laura Lightfoot was the first to respond. She found Caleb dead and Ellie crying with injuries, the Times reported.
The tracks were four mobile home-lengths from where the family was staying. Robert Gowens was with the children at the home when he stepped outside to have a cigarette, the Times reported.
The only thing that separates the trailer park from the tracks is a weed-covered, steep embankment.
“I was standing out there this morning, and I heard the train blow its horn. The conductor was waving his arms,” Gowens told the Times.
He said he didn’t see the two children because of the weeds.
The conductor said he saw the two walking on the tracks, blew the horn and tried to stop the train, but there wasn’t enough time.
Ellie was taken by medical helicopter to the University of Chicago Medicine Comer’s Children’s Hospital in Chicago and is in critical condition. However, her aunt told the Times, she is awake and talking.
Police are investigating the accident.