Boy, 14, killed by freight train in St. Paul

The boy had earlier been reported missing by his family.
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A 14-year-old boy died in St. Paul after being struck by a freight train on Friday morning.

Abdiarahman Hassan had been reported missing by his family in the early hours of Friday, and police were out looking for him when a report came in about someone on the tracks near Western and Como avenues.

Nobody was found, but Hassan, who has autism, was hit at around 5:30 a.m. east of Snelling Avenue near Pierce Butler Route.

The freight train, which was traveling at 16mph, had applied its emergency brakes when the driver saw the boy in the tracks, but was unable to stop in time, St. Paul police told KSTP.

The train was being operated by Twin Cities & Western Railroad, with president and CEO Mark Wegner telling the Pioneer Press it has offered counseling for the two operators on the train.

"Obviously, we feel for the person’s family," he added.

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The amount of time it takes a train to stop after applying emergency brakes varies depending on its weight, speed and track conditions at the time.

The Minnesota Safety Council says that the average freight train moving at 55mph could take a mile or more to stop.

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