Johnson City police identified the man killed by a Norfolk Southern Railway train early Sunday morning as a Texan here with a group of friends to visit another friend who attends East Tennessee State University.
Heath Ramirez, 23, from Montgomery, Texas, was reportedly on his way from University Edge Apartments to Tipton Street Pub to meet a group of friends he’d traveled with to Johnson City.
“The only thing we could gather was they left him at a party in an apartment, they went to the Tipton Street Pub and texted him where they were going,” Sgt. Mike Adams, police criminal investigations supervisor, said.
Police said Ramirez had a strong odor of alcohol on him when police arrived and there was dirt on his hands and knees.
“It appeared he had fallen and been crawling,” Adams said. “We have no reason to believe anyone placed him there.”
The train conductor told police he has passed the University Parkway crossing, traveling toward downtown Johnson City, and looked down to check his speed, which was 35 mph.
When the conductor looked back up, he saw someone lying in the middle of the tracks and immediately blew his horn.
“As the train alerted him, he lifted his head at the last minute, looking at the train before it hit him,” Adams said. Ramirez’ only apparent injury was a large gash on his forehead, police said.
JCPD said Norfolk Southern will also conduct its own investigation into the fatality as well.