The former Bills draft pick Kyle Calloway was among the best offensive tackles in his class. He only played during the preseason with the Bills and the Ravens in 2011, but he liked to keep in shape by running outdoors, following the tracks.
On Saturday, he was pronounced dead at the scene after being hit by a train in Vail, Arizona.
His father, Ed Calloway, said, “He liked to run and it had rained the day before and the area where he ran was muddy, and so he was going back and forth across the tracks to get out of the mud.”
It’s possible that he’d slipped, and got caught, but his father thinks he could’ve been confused as to the direction of the train and where to expect it.
“The train on the right side of the tracks went east, and the train on the left tracks went west. Our presumption is this train was on the opposite side that he was used to so he got onto the side so the train would have been coming at him from the front.” Mr. Calloway said.
“We think that he got confused because the train somehow had been slopped over and was going in a different direction that he was used to. We don’t know, we’re just assuming that’s what happened.” He added.
It’s not as strange as most of us think that a person could be hit by a train without hearing it coming, or feeling its vibrations.
Railcars can be quite stealthy. Unlike the old steam engines that stomp on the rails, railcars are designed to glide with the least possible coefficient of friction. In spite of its size, you’d be surprised you could actually push a train car on a track. It’s silent and runs with minimal vibrations.
The rocks underneath the tracks actually help muffle the vibrations and the sound.
Calloway was hit from behind the train. It’s possible that it had just turned a corner, which adds to its stealth, plus the trees surrounding place suppresses the noise. The weight of the train needs to be considered too.
Another possibility of the victim not hearing the train approach is the Doppler effect, where the pitch of the sound changes relative to distance and direction.
Even if Calloway hadn’t heard it approaching, why didn’t the train halt? It probably attempted to push the brakes, but it takes the length of 18 football fields to get it to stop.
Chances are, he could’ve been using headphones while running, as many of us do.
Kyle Calloway was 29.