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WVSU baseball player killed by train

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Although his death is still under investigation, a West Virginia State University baseball player struck and killed by a train early Sunday apparently didn't react to the train's whistle, the Putnam County sheriff said.

Tyler Kincaid, a 2011 graduate of Winfield High School, had just finished his first season at WVSU, where he was studying criminal justice in addition to playing on the school's baseball team.

Kincaid was killed around 3 a.m. Sunday while walking on the tracks close to Hedrick and Joyce roads in Scott Depot.

Putnam County Sheriff Steve DeWeese said his department can't officially rule on the nature of Kincaid's death until it receives a coroner's report. But a video shot from the CSX train shows the train's operators trying to warn Kincaid with the train's whistle and to slow the train before the accident.

In the video, Kincaid is seen walking on the tracks and gives no indication he has heard the whistle, the sheriff said.

"The deputy viewed the video from on board the engine, and the video shows the victim walking in the middle of the train track," DeWeese said. "You could hear the train track's whistle alerting the victim, and the screeching of the brakes before the collision."

According to DeWeese, the engineers aboard the train did everything they could to avoid the collision.

"We don't know if maybe he was wearing earphones and listening to the radio," DeWeese said. "We didn't find anything at the scene. It's still pending investigation."

Kincaid's Friends and family held a candlelight vigil in his memory at the high school's baseball field Sunday night.

"It was a tragedy -- so sad," said Winfield High Principal Bruce McGrew. "He was a tough athlete and a real competitor. I remember every time I talked to him it was 'yes, sir' and 'no, sir.' I can't imagine. I really feel for his family."

According to his biography on the WVSU website, Kincaid hoped to earn his degree and one day play Major League Baseball, and his biggest influence was his younger brother, Dustin, who was struck in the temple by a line drive during a 2012 game and was forced to undergo emergency surgery.

Jimmy Tribble, who coached baseball at Winfield High during Kincaid's junior and senior years, said Kincaid was a team player and a quality athlete during his time there.

"Tyler was a great kid to coach. He was very talented," Tribble said. "He loved to play the game, and he was very competitive. He was a leader, and what I remember more than anything about Tyler was that Tyler was a team guy, not an 'I' guy.

"He did whatever he could to help his team, and he didn't want credit for things; he was a very unselfish player."

The coach said he hoped Kincaid's family would be able to overcome the tragedy of his death.

"It's a very painful thing, and I'm just praying God gives his family the strength to get through it," he said. "We're not designed for this. We're not supposed to bury our children -- they're supposed to bury us. It's going to be tough for a while."

Reach Lydia Nuzum at lydia.nuzum@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5189.


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