UPDATED at 4:40 p.m. with comments from victim’s relatives.
JEFFERSON COUNTY • Authorities on Monday identified a pedestrian struck and killed by a train the day before as John Bowling, 24, of Pevely.
Bowling was walking on the tracks and was hit by an empty coal train at 4:18 p.m., authorities said. The accident occurred at Market Street in Horine, which is about 2½ miles west of Herculaneum, the Dunklin Fire Protection District said.
BNSF Railway spokesman Andy Williams said that Bowling was walking north in the middle of the tracks with his back to an approaching coal train.
“The crew sounded the horn and he did not respond,” Williams said.
Keith Bowling, 57, the victim’s uncle, said his nephew had moved to Jefferson County about a month ago from Omaha, Ark., about 15 miles south of Branson, Mo. He said his nephew had been hired at McDonald’s in Horine a few weeks ago and made the two-mile walk to and from work along the railroad tracks.
John Bowling was hit while walking to a friend’s house to stay the night because it was closer to work. His relatives said he routinely wore headphones to listen to music.
“I’m sure he had his headphones on,” he said. “He had them on all the time.”
John Bowling was not married and had been talking to recruiters about enlisting in the Air Force, his uncle said. He had a passion for music, especially Led Zeppelin, and excelled at the drums, guitar and piano. His sister, Kelly Jo Getman, 31, of Harrison, Ark., said he won an Arkansas governor’s award for music excellence in high school.
“I always said he was born in the wrong era because he had a very old soul,” Getman said. That, she said, as well as his hippie lifestyle, tie-dye shirts and long, red hair.
“He had his own rhythm,” Getman said. “The ones who kept up with him were the lucky ones.”
His cousin, Charlotte Miller, 23, of Vancouver, Wash., said John Bowling was a caring and compassionate person who told her “not to sweat the small stuff because the only thing in life that really matters is love and happiness.”
BNSF police were investigating; the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department assisted. Authorities would not release additional details.
Robert Patrick of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.
Joel Currier • 314-340-8256 @joelcurrier on Twitter email@example.com