On Oct. 10, Scott Kipp, chief of public safety, let out a press release regarding a train accident in downtown Albion. While riding his bike to work, Ervin Hunter, Albion resident, was hit by a train and dragged nearly 100 feet. He was found under the ninth car immediately taken to a Kalamazoo hospital by helicopter.
“I think that’s probably the most unlucky thing that could ever happen to you,” said Thor Person, Bloomfield Hills junior. “That’s such a shock. I think if anyone can make it out of this situation though, it would be him.”
Person is a friend of Hunter, who does not attend the college. Three days after the accident, he visited Hunter’s family in a waiting room at the hospital in Kalamazoo.
“We didn’t have any get well cards, so we took business cards from the hospital and just wrote a bunch of ‘get well’ and prayers,” Person said.
Person was not able to visit personally with Hunter, but he was made aware of his condition.
“[His injuries are] severe, but he stable and he’s alive,” Person said.
Wally Kacher, Grosse Ile junior, also visited Hunter’s family at the hospital on Saturday.
“As long as he’s alive, we’re OK,” Kacher said. “He got hit by a train, after all. We’re just glad we still have his heart beating. I know Erv, and nothing about this accident is going to stop him.”
A campus safety officer noticed the accident and went to the scene to the police and ambulance crews. Kenneth Snyder, assistant dean of community standards and director of campus safety, responded to the scene after his assistance was requested.
“Initially, Albion Public Safety thought the person was a former Albion student, so they asked us to assist, and we did so until they confirmed his identity,” Snyder said.
Snyder has been living in Albion for 26 years and has dealt with incidents like this in the past. His advice to students is to pay attention to signals.
“If they are activated, assume a train is coming, even if you don’t see or hear it,” Snyder said. “Be patient and wait for a train to pass. Don’t ever try to beat a train.”
Kacher is affected by the way the news has been handled by some students.
“Show support,” Kacher said. “It hurts when I hear kids on campus talking about the incident without knowing Ervin personally, saying he shouldn’t have done it, as if [he] would do it twice if given a second chance. Just pray with us.”
Person hopes the friends and neighbors in the Albion community will help the Hunter family in whatever way they can.
“[Take] a part of your day to pray and wish well for the family,” Person said. “Maybe send cards, flowers, food. [Do] what most people do in times of hardship and struggle.”
Photo by Megan Sheridan