The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

March 6, 2013

Pedestrian hit, killed by train

Justin Dennis

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

Michael Pawvlek, 32, of Portage Township, was pronounced dead early Wednesday.

The incident occurred on a Norfolk Southern rail line at the crossing between Jamestown Street and Route 53.

According to Cambria County Coroner Dennis Kwiatkowski, Pawvlek was walking between the tracks during the snowstorm early Wednesday.

Norfolk Southern railroad police investigated the incident.

Kwiatkowski said the next step in the investigation into Pawvlek’s death is the toxicology report, which will not be returned for two months.

Two engines were traveling westbound from Altoona when the man was struck – neither of the locomotives was hauling freight cars, according to Dave Pidgeon, spokesman for the railroad.

“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.”

Pidgeon said he could not discuss any details regarding the victim or the ongoing investigation. Messages left for Pennsylvania State Police, who also responded to the scene, were not immediately unreturned.

Portage police Chief Ed Miller said Pawvlek was not carrying any identification when he was killed. Authorities said Kwiatkowski was able to verify the 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.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.