Person hit, killed by train while walking on tracks

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A pedestrian was fatally hit by a train in Coon Rapids Sunday.

The incident happened on Northdale Boulevard near Sand Creek Park, which was closed to traffic after the incident, the Coon Rapids Fire Department said on Facebook.

Police arrived shortly before noon to find a body near the tracks, KARE 11 says.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, which operates the tracks, told KSTP one of their trains struck the pedestrian, adding "it is extremely dangerous, and illegal, to be on railroad tracks to to cross railroad tracks at any location other than a designated street or pedestrian crossing."

A spokesperson for the railway told the Star Tribune the eastbound train hit the person, who was walking on the railroad tracks at a spot not designated for pedestrians.

Officials have not provided any additional information on who the person was or how the incident happened.

Operation Lifesaver, which promotes highway-rail grade crossing safety, says there were four "trespassing fatalities" involving pedestrians and trains in Minnesota in 2014. There were 10 fatal vehicle-train collisions at highway-rail crossings in Minnesota last year, the according to the organization.

The Star Tribune recently looked at the dangers of distracted walking, finding there have been 38 pedestrian deaths so far this year – many of whom were distracted at the time of the incident – while hundreds more have been injured.

It's not clear at this point if that was a factor in Sunday's death.

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