AUSTELL — A man in a wheelchair has been killed after he was hit by a train at an Austell railroad crossing Monday morning at the Powder Springs Road crossing near Veterans Memorial Highway.

Investigators believe the victim, a man in a motorized wheelchair, went around the crossing gates to attempt to cross the tracks as the train approached at about 11:25 a.m.

Cobb County Police are investigating. The man’s name has not been released.

Rebekah Green, a server at the South Cobb Diner which is near the crossing, told the MDJ the victim was a fixture in the community, often seen out and about with his dog.

“He’s come in a couple times, but normally I just see him riding around,” Green said. “Normally he has his dog with him, either running behind him or sitting on his lap. He’s gotten hung up on the tracks a couple times. He normally makes it over.”

Employees at South Cobb Diner and at other nearby businesses said the scene was swarming with police, who quickly roped off the area and blocked traffic. According to the Cobb Police Department, the investigation is ongoing.

“I don’t know if he just got stuck, I don’t know what happened,” Green said. “I just know he was on the tracks when the train came through, and it couldn’t stop. It’s really sad. It’s heartbreaking.”

Norfolk Southern officials told FOX 5 News the northbound freight train that struck and killed the man was an empty grain train traveling from Albany, Georgia to Dwight, Illinois.

“Norfolk Southern advises motorists and pedestrians to stay alert around railroad tracks, and to be mindful of all warning signs and signals at railroad crossings,” a spokesperson for the company told the TV station in a statement.

MDJ reporter Ross Williams contributed to this story.

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