Florence man dies when struck by freight train

A 71-year-old rural Florence man was struck Sunday by a freight train near U.S. Highway 50 and Union Road at Florence.

Marion County Sheriff Robert Craft said the incident was reported at about 4:15 p.m. by the two members of the train crew, who witnessed what happened.

“When officers arrived they found a 71-year-old male (Howard Savage) who had been struck by a train and was deceased,” Craft said.

The train was an eastbound Burlington Northern Santa Fe, traveling at a speed of about 65 miles per hour, he said.

During the initial phase of the investigation, it appeared Savage may have fallen or intentionally laid on the tracks, Craft said.

He had no handicaps that might have made it difficult for him to hear the train or get off the tracks, he said.

Others responding at the scene were emergency medical personnel and two individuals from the sheriff’s office.

Zeiner Funeral Home was called to transport the deceased to their Marion facility. According to the obituary on Page 3 of today’s edition, Savage was not married, but was a caregiver to his mother, Alta Mae Savage.

A graduate of Florence High School, Savage was born and raised in rural Florence.

The family is having a private service at a later date, but no public service is scheduled.

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