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Man killed in Amtrak accident was struck hours before being found

By the time the badly-damaged body of George Thomas McAleer was found near Amtrak train tracks in Rosedale, he'd likely been dead for more than eight hours.

McAleer, 26, of the 1100 block of Quantril Way in the Armistead Gardens neighborhood of Baltimore, was struck by Amtrak Train 181 in Rosedale around 9 a.m. on March 4, Amtrak officials confirmed Tuesday.

The operators of the train did not report any collision or trespassers near the tracks at the time, and officials only determined Train 181 struck McAleer after reviewing surveillance footage from multiple trains that operated on the local tracks the day he was found, said Craig Schulz, an Amtrak spokesman.

Schulz deferred all other questions to Baltimore County Police, who are leading the ongoing investigation.

Police said McAleer was found by relatives, who remained in the area when police arrived shortly before 6 p.m. on March 4.

Police began receiving "multiple calls of unknown trouble" near the 200 block of Philadelphia Avenue in Rosedale about 5:38 p.m., police spokeswoman Elise Armacost said.

When officers arrived, they observed several people "leaving the railroad tracks and crying," she said.

They included McAleer's mother, sister and fiance, Armacost said.

The fiance told police that she and McAleer had been in an argument the previous evening, when she last saw him, Armacost said.

At about 8 a.m. on March 4, the fiance received a voice message from McAleer asking her to pick him up near the train tracks in Rosedale, where an ATV that he had allegedly stolen had run out of gas, Armacost said.

Police said the ATV "broke down on him next to the tracks just prior" to his being struck by the train, and believe he didn't hear the train coming toward him at a high rate of speed.

Police said through their investigation, they learned the ATV had been stolen from the 600 block of Patapsco Avenue in Dundalk. The owner of the ATV told police it had been stolen sometime between midnight and 7 a.m., Armacost said.

The fiance told police she had a "feeling something was wrong" when she didn't hear from McAleer again, so she picked up McAleer's mother and sister before going to the tracks, Armacost said.

None of the women could be reached for comment.

All Amtrak and MARC service between Baltimore and Wilmington for several hours on the Tuesday of the police investigation into the death.

McAleer's death differed from multiple other deaths along railroad tracks in the Baltimore area recently in that it was an accident, not a suspected suicide.

Operators of the trains involved in the other deaths also were immediately aware of the collisions, stopping the trains as the investigations unfolded.

krector@baltsun.com

twitter.com/rectorsun

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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