The following is a statement from Chief Troy Williams:
“On August 7th, 2018 at approximately 9:36 a.m. Portage Police Officers were dispatched to a collision involving a freight train that reportedly struck a juvenile on the CSX railroad tracks. The location of the collision was south of the Woodland Village Mobile Home Park – 5757 U.S. Hwy 20, Portage, IN, (there are two sets of CSX railroad tracks that run parallel to the southern end of the mobile home community, which is located south of U.S. Hwy 20 and west of Willowcreek Road). Officer Laura Lightfoot was the first officer on scene and discovered two-(2) toddlers (siblings) that had been struck. One child (male, age 3) was found deceased while the other child (female, age 2) had noticeable injuries but was actively crying. Portage Fire Department personnel arrived and immediately tended to the 2-year old female. Arrangements were made for UCAN-(University of Chicago Aeromedical Network) to pick-up the toddler and transport her to Comers Children’s Hospital. Portage Police Detectives began investigating the incident and initial indications appear that the toddlers snuck out a screen door of their residence (500 block of Woodland Village) and made their way to the CSX tracks. The Conductor advised that when he observed them on the tracks he blew the horn and attempted to brake, but was unable to stop before striking the toddlers. The Portage Police Detective Bureau will continue to investigate this incident. I do want to emphasize the exceptional teamwork by the police and fire personnel on scene who worked to stabilize the 2-year old, move her to the ambulance and then onto the UCAN Helicopter. This tragedy undeniably affected the first responders as several were visibly shaken by what occurred but worked through those emotions to provide every possible resource and effort throughout the entire incident. Agencies that assisted with this event are Burns Harbor Police, Ogden Dunes Police, Indiana State Police, CSX Railroad Police, Porter County Coroner’s Office and Porter County Central Communications-911.”