One Earlham student dead, two injured after train accident

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A college campus is in mourning after a student was killed and two others were injured after being struck by a train.

The three students were from Earlham College. They were walking near the depot district in Richmond when the accident happened early Friday.

Earlham is a Quaker-affiliate college of about 1,200 students. Classes have been canceled for the day.

College officials say 21-year-old senior Therese Heymann of Burlingame, California, was killed.

"Very sweet. She loved everyone. She was really one of the best people I've ever met," said a close friend.

Senior Graham Nissen of Columbus, Indiana and sophomore Lenore Edwards from North Carolina were flown to a trauma center in Dayton.

Richmond Police tell Eyewitness News the accident happened just after one o'clock Friday morning near a railroad crossing at North 8th and E Streets.

The students were walking home from College Night Out at the Historic Depot District in Richmond. Students from Earlham and other area colleges were at nearby bars including the E Street Pub.

According to police, they were walking on the tracks when they were hit. Why the three friends ended up on the tracks is unclear.

"It is a particularly tight-knit community. The shockwaves are exponential throughout the community during something like this," said Mark Blackmon, Earlham College. 

Heymann was pronounced dead at the scene. 

The railroad crossing is wide open and there is only one set of tracks. It seems unlikely that people wouldn't be able to see or at least hear an oncoming train - even in the middle of the night.

The impact around 1:15 am sent personal belongings flying, and police closed down the tracks for hours. Even after they reopened the tracks early Friday, the investigation continued.

"You expect automobile accidents. You expect other kinds of accidents. You don't necessarily expect people to be struck by trains. It is definitely a tragedy," said Blackmon.

Earlham has suspended classes for the day, and encourages students and community members to gather Stout Meetinghouse and the College Dining Hall.

Check the Earlham website for updates.