Update: After Accident, Trestle Trouble


Just hours after a Clarkson University student was struck by a train and fell to his death in the Raquette River, Potsdam police had to chase more young people off the train trestle.

It's nothing new, said Potsdam police chief Kevin Bates.

"We have had problems with people on the railroad tracks in the past," said Bates. "Number one, it is illegal to be on the train tracks."

The Clarkson student was killed in a train-pedestrian accident over the Raquette River early Sunday morning.

His body was later recovered from the water nearby.

The victim has been identified as 20-year-old Shanith Samarasekera, of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Police received the report of the accident at 1:39 a.m., after a witness saw a train strike Samarasekera on the railroad trestle next to Sandstone Drive in the village.

It appeared the train knocked Samarasekera unconscious.

"We're trying to determine where he was" before the accident, Bates said. It's possible Samarasekera was taking a short cut home from downtown to Clarkson student housing.

Potsdam Police, Potsdam Fire and Potsdam Rescue with the assistance of the St. Lawrence County Sheriff's Department responded.

A search was conducted using watercraft and diving personnel provided by area fire and rescue services.  New York State Police assisted with a helicopter during the search.

At 11:24 a.m., Samarasekera's body was recovered from the river, in about 12 feet of water.

Coroner June Wood was contacted and his body was removed to the Canton Potsdam Hospital.



Wednesday, December 7, 2016
, Watertown, NY

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