Toddler struck, killed by train

May 2, 2008 9:07:48 AM PDT
A toddler has been struck and killed by a freight train while playing near the tracks.The boy would have turned 3 years old next Monday.

The accident happened in Gary just before 5 p.m. Thursday.

Kids were playing in the yard jumping on a trampoline, when Ryan Watson wandered onto the tracks. His grandparents were watching him and his mother had just come outside.

"There he was on the tracks, here comes the train, and it was too close to him, and I was like, 'Please, Ryan.' And he looked back at me, had his pretty blue eyes, and I'm never gonna see him again," sobbed mom April Watson. "I just don't know why this had to happen."

The family was planning Ryan's birthday party for Sunday.

He was recently diagnosed with autism and was in therapy. But his relatives recalled a happy, bright and active child.

"He was always smiling, giggling. He's always, 'Grandma, Nana, Grandma this. Grandpa that.' He was a character. So, he was a good little boy. Like I said, he's going to be severely missed," said great uncle Rich Gaskey.

Police were still investigating but said it appears to be an unavoidable accident. There is a fence that runs along the east and west sides of the tracks, but there was a small hole in it where Ryan walked through.

"From our interview with the conductor, the train applied emergency brakes when he saw the child, laid on the horn, but the child was still walking toward him and he couldn't stop the train in time, and the train unfortunately hit the child," said Lt. Thomas Pawlik, Gary Police.

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