Man struck, killed by train near Sharpsburg

May 14, 2010|By ANDREW SCHOTZ
  • Police and emergency vehicles are pictured along Shepherdstown Pike (Md. 34) near the site where a man was struck and killed by a freight train Friday afternoon.
Photo by Rob Arrington,

SHARPSBURG -- A man was hit and killed by a train Friday afternoon while walking along the railroad tracks near Md. 34, authorities said.

The Washington County Sheriff's Department said the man -- Omar Burkholder, 32, of 106 E. High St. in Sharpsburg -- was hearing impaired.

The person driving the Norfolk Southern train sounded the horn numerous times, but Burkholder didn't react, police said in a news release.

Burkholder was walking toward Shepherdstown, W.Va., which is about a mile from the scene. At about 1:30 p.m., he was hit from behind and thrown about 50 feet, police said.

Burkholder died at the scene.

Police said Burkholder's body was taken to the state medical examiner's office in Baltimore to determine the cause of death.

The tracks are set back from Md. 34 about a quarter-mile.

Don Weigel, an assistant chief of Sharpsburg Area Emergency Medical Services, said the freight train was going 33 mph, within the acceptable speed range at that spot.


He said the driver slowed down, but could not stop the train in time.

Online, Burkholder kept a blog, a Facebook page and a YouTube channel.

He referred to himself as the fourth child and second son of Nathan and Ruth Burkholder.

"All my siblings are hearing impaired, so I grew up in a deaf world, more or less," he wrote.

He posted that he graduated from Hillside Mennonite School in 1995 and was a baker for Burkholder's bakery.

Burkholder's Baked Goods is at 106 E. High St., Sharpsburg, which was Omar Burkholder's address.

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