By Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Witnesses said Joe Wheeler was almost across the railroad tracks Wednesday morning when he was struck by a train on Park Street.
Wheeler, who’s right leg was severely injured by the train, was taken to the North Mississippi Medical Center by ambulance.
His injuries were not life-threatening, according to Tupelo Police Lt. Tim Clouse. His condition was unknown Wednesday afternoon.
Wheeler’s landlord, Herman Martin, said Wheeler had a handicap and used a cane to walk. He said he’d seen Wheeler not long before he was struck by the train.
Margaret Brown was pulling out of Burger King’s parking lot onto Park Street when she saw Wheeler and heard the train coming through Crosstown.
“I heard the train and saw him walking toward the track, but I thought he was going to stop,” she said. “But he tried to speed up to make it across and didn’t make it. The train looked like it tried to slow down, but it was too late.”
The train stopped after Wheeler was hit and disengaged into two sections in order to let emergency crews through. Traffic at Crosstown was backed up for a short time.
Wheeler walks in the area almost daily from his Church Street apartment, according to Martin.
Terry McNeal, a witness to the accident, said he sees “Joe Lee” walking across the tracks all the time.
“He always seems to be careful when he walks across there,” said McNeal. “I mean, you could hear the train coming from a ways off, but he just thought he could make it across.”
Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or firstname.lastname@example.org.