A man was struck and killed while lying in the middle of the railroad tracks at an isolated location early Tuesday morning in Bridgeport.
Floyd H. Smith, 53, was hit by a southbound Union Pacific engine on its way to Fort Worth. It was passing under the bridge of Texas 114 in Bridgeport at about 1:15 a.m. when the conductor saw a man lying in the middle of the tracks.
“They made an attempt to stop, but there was no way to stop that fast,” said Bridgeport Police Chief Randy Singleton.
“The conductor said he was lying on the tracks and at the last minute curled up,” said Assistant Bridgeport Police Chief Steve Stanford.
Smith’s body was dragged about 100 feet by the engine, which wasn’t pulling any cars. He was killed instantly from the impact and pronounced dead at the scene by Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Mandy Hays.
Smith appeared to be transient and had been staying with various friends, according to investigators.
“He’d been staying at different places,” Stanford said. “We think he’d last been staying with a friend in Paradise.”
Near his body, police found two 5-gallon plastic buckets. The containers held what appeared to be his personal belongings, including clothes, food, utensils and tools. The items were scattered up and down the tracks.
“It looked like he was just walking along the tracks with all his belongings, got tired and just laid down,” Singleton said.
It was difficult for first responders to get to the victim. The incident occurred on an isolated section of the track at the bottom of what looked like an overgrown gorge. Wise County Sheriff’s Office, Wise County medics, Bridgeport Volunteer Fire Department and Bridgeport police all responded and remained on scene for several hours.
Investigators don’t know why Smith was lying in the middle of the tracks in the middle of the night. There was no evidence of drug or alcohol, but an autopsy was ordered.
“Hopefully, we can figure out why this happened and give some closure on the case,” Stanford said. “We’ll help the family any way we can.”
The nearest kin officers found was a brother in Oklahoma and another one in Colorado.
Bridgeport police had a run-in with Smith a few years ago. He was arrested in 2002 for assaulting his elderly father and arrested again in 2004 for the same offense.
Smith is the first person killed by a train in Wise County since July 2012, and the fifth train-related death since July 2011.