Man critical after placing head on tracks under moving train in Pontiac

Evan James Carter
The Detroit News

Pontiac — A 54-year-old man was in critical condition Sunday after authorities said he put his head on a railroad track and a moving train rolled over him.

Oakland County Sheriff's deputies were dispatched to a railroad crossing at South Boulevard and South Sanford Street in Pontiac at about 7:55 a.m. Sunday after a report that a man had laid down on the tracks, the Sheriff's Office said.

The man, a Pontiac resident, was breathing but not responsive, with a significant head wound when police arrived on the scene, according to the Sheriff's Office. He was hospitalized in St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in critical condition.

Three witnesses on scene recounted the same event, the Sheriff's Office said: A train was traveling through the crossing at South Boulevard near South Sanford with the gates down and red flashing lights activated when the Pontiac man stopped his vehicle at the crossing behind other vehicles.

He then exited his vehicle and walked to the tracks and "put his head on the tracks under the moving train," the Sheriff's Office said.  

The Canadian National Railway was contacted and officials stopped the train in Royal Oak. The engineer was not aware of the incident until he was contacted.

Canadian National Railway police arrived on scene and ceased rail traffic at the crossing during the investigation, the Sheriff's Office said.

"The subject had a long history of depression and suicide attempts in the past," police said.

Twitter: @EvanJamesCarter