A homeless man narrowly escaped death or serious injury yesterday afternoon when he was hit by a CSX train while lying on the tracks near Middle River and sunning himself, Baltimore County police said.
Shortly before 1 p.m., a CSX engine pulling 29 freight cars was traveling about 30 mph in the rear of the 9200 block of Pulaski Highway in Middle River when the conductor, William Dunnane, 61, saw what he thought was a log lying across the tracks and applied the train's brakes, county police said.
Dunnane told police that as he neared the object, he realized it was a man lying on the tracks and applied more pressure on the brakes and sounded his warning horn.
Seconds later, the conductor said, he realized that the train might have run over the man.
From the train, Dunnane called police and railroad officials.
Police said the man, John Steinbrickner, 61, apparently moved off the tracks in time to prevent being run over and sustained only a minor injury to his left knee.
He told police he was lying on the tracks to get some sun, said Officer John Nida of the Essex Precinct.
Steinbrickner, who has no permanent address, was taken by the county Fire Department to Franklin Square Hospital Center for treatment. It could not be determined whether Steinbrickner was admitted or released.
"He's very lucky," Nida said.