The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

March 6, 2013

UPDATE 6 p.m. | Man fatally struck by train in Portage ID'd

Justin Dennis

PORTAGE — A man was fatally struck by a train at a crossing Tuesday night, around 3 a.m. in Portage Township, just north of Portage Borough.

Michael Pawvlek, 32, of Portage Township, was pronounced dead Tuesday night. The incident occurred on a Norfolk Southern rail line, between the Jamestown Street crossing and Route 53.

According to Cambria County Coroner Dennis Kwiatkowski, Pawvlek was walking in between the tracks during Tuesday night's snowstorm. Norfolk Southern railroad police investigated the incident.

Kwiatkowski said the next step in the investigation into Pawvlek's death is the toxicology report, which won't be returned for another two months.

Two engines were traveling westbound from Altoona when the person was struck - neither locomotives were carrying freight cars, according to Dave Pidgeon, spokesman for the railroad company.

"The track speed in the area is 40 miles an hour," he said. "But I don't have any information as to how fast the locomotives were traveling at the time of the incident."

Portage Police Chief Ed Miller said Pawvlek was not carrying any identification when he was killed. Authorities were able to verify his identity from a tattoo on the victim's arm.

The scene was cleared and Norfolk Southern was given the OK to move again roughly an hour after the incident.

This story will be updated as more details become available.