EAST ALTON — An East Alton man was in critical condition Monday afternoon after being struck by a train Sunday.
Police Chief Darren Carlton said Robert A. Dale, 60, was walking south at about 9:30 a.m. next to the railroad track about one-half mile north of West St. Louis Avenue when an Amtrak train struck him. The train’s engineer saw Dale, blew his whistle and braked before striking him. The engineer told police he thought the train was going to miss Dale because he wasn’t walking on the tracks.
Police, firefighters and paramedics responded and stabilized Dale at Olin Corp.’s Gate No. 7 before he was transported to SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital.
A hospital spokesman said Dale was in critical condition Monday afternoon.
Carlton said the area where Dale was walking is off limits to the public. The only places people can legally cross are at official crossings, and Amtrak doesn’t have any crossings in East Alton.
“People cut across all the time, they walk on them (the tracks) all the time, but it is trespassing and we do not recommend people do that anywhere on the tracks in town,” he said. “That particular area where he was at, even on the side of the tracks, is very treacherous.”
In the more than 25 years Carlton has worked for the police department, he said it’s rare for pedestrians to be struck by trains. When it has happened, it’s usually been south of the location where Sunday’s accident occurred.
“All of them that we’ve had ... are people trespassing on railroad property,” he said.