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Two men killed after being struck by trains in separate accidents

Men hit by train

Samuel Aaron Black Jr.

Samuel Aaron Black Jr.

Vernon D. Wiggins

Vernon D. Wiggins

By Shavonne Walker

shavonne.walker@salisburypost.com

Two Rowan County men were killed Sunday night in two separate incidents after they were struck by trains within hours of each other.

Spencer Police say Samuel Aaron Black Jr., 61, was killed around 8:58 p.m. after he was struck by a train behind the N.C. Transportation Museum.

Rowan authorities confirmed Vernon D. Wiggins, 54, of the 3600 block of Magnolia Drive, was killed around 11:30 p.m. at 1840 U.S. 29 North.

Black of East Spencer died at the scene, said First Sgt. Martin Brigman. The accident occurred in an area between Torbush Street in East Spencer and the Transportation Museum.

Brigman said it appeared Black was sitting on the tracks when he was struck by the Norfolk Southern freight train. Black died at the scene.

Spencer Fire Capt. Jeremi Carter told the Post on Sunday the engineer saw Black sitting on the tracks and he blew the train’s horn several times.

Brigman said Black’s death has been determined to be an accident. In addition to Spencer Police, Rowan County EMS, Norfolk Southern Police and East Spencer Police also responded to that incident.

The officer said the last train accident in Spencer was about 13 years ago behind Hendrix Barbecue.

Wiggins was also said to have been sitting on the railroad tracks. He was struck and killed by a Norfolk Southern train.
Officials with the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office responded to the second incident, which occurred near the Long Ferry Road crossing.

When a deputy arrived to the scene, he confirmed there was a train accident closest to 1840 U.S. 29 north. The victim was already deceased.

According to a report the Norfolk Southern train engineer said he was traveling southbound when he spotted a male sitting on the railroad tracks. The engineer sounded his horn and applied his emergency brakes, but was not able to stop in time.

Medical responders arrived to the scene. Rowan County Rescue Squad transported the victim’s body and officials are awaiting an autopsy report from the N.C. Medical Examiner’s Office.

Brigman said it does not appear the two incidents are connected.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.

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