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Pastor: Boone man killed by train was down on luck but was turning life around

By Staff reports

MARMET, W.Va. -- A Boone County man had been down on his luck but was turning his life around when he was struck and killed by a train Monday, his pastor said.

A CSX train fatally injured Johnny Mccallister, 47, at about 4:30 p.m. near the crossing at 98th Street and Ohio Avenue in Marmet. The incident remains under investigation. Marmet Police Sgt. Chuck Buttrick did not return phone calls Tuesday evening.

Pastor J.R. Mooney said Mccallister moved into his Ashford home about three months ago when he didn't have a place to live.

"He had nowhere else to go, and me and my wife were trying to help him get back on his feet," Mooney said.

Mccallister joined Mooney's congregation at Morning Star Church in Ridgeview and quickly fit in with the tight-knit community.

"Everybody enjoyed him, and he would do anything for anybody," Mooney said. "He was a goodhearted boy, goodhearted as he could be."

The congregation is devastated by the news of his death.

"We definitely believe in the power of prayer, and everybody is surely praying for his family," he said.

Mooney dropped Mccallister off in Kanawha City earlier this month so he could visit his daughter, he said. Mccallister did not have a vehicle and was going to call Mooney when he was ready to come back to Ashford. He was visiting friends in Marmet when he was struck Monday.

A witness at the scene tried to pull Mccallister from the tracks when he saw the train was coming but couldn't, The Associated Press reported. The witness also attempted to flag down the conductor, but the train couldn't stop in time.

Mooney's friend had stopped at a gas station when he heard other customers talking about the incident. The friend called Mooney when he realized it was Mccallister who had been struck and Mooney rushed to the scene.

He's been in touch with Mccallister's uncle in Ashford. No funeral arrangements have been made.

Last year, a pedestrian was killed at the same railroad crossing because said she didn't notice an oncoming train, police said. On May 31, 2011, Angela Dawn Selbe, 33, of Marmet, was walking near the tracks talking on her cellphone when a CSX train struck her. Buttrick said at the time that Selbe did not see, hear or feel the train coming.

CSX officials said a conductor tried to stop the train when he saw Selbe but was unsuccessful.

Reach Travis Crum at travis.crum@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.


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