A 27-year-old Ossian man who was two weeks away from graduating from IPFW died Sunday night when he was accidentally electrocuted by the rail of a suburban Chicago train track, police said.
Zachary McKee was climbing down on an elevated train track in Evanston, north of downtown Chicago, when the accident occurred, according to a statement from the Evanston Police Department.
The Cook County medical examiner ruled McKees death was an accident due to electrocution.
He was at a Chicago Transit Authority Purple Line station when the accident occurred about 11:10 p.m., police said. McKee was taken to St. Francis Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Police said McKee was with two others when he climbed onto the tracks to urinate and then fell onto the third rail.
McKee, a 2004 Norwell High School graduate, attended IPFW for two years before joining the Marines. After serving eight months in Iwakuni, Japan, he was sent to Al Taqaddum Air Base, which is in the Anbar province of Iraq. While at the base, he worked at the Marine Post Office.
McKee, a political science major, was set to graduate in two weeks, according to George McClellan, vice chancellor for Student Affairs.
Were always saddened by the loss of any student, McClellan said. Were a close-knit campus community. Its particularly difficult when were talking about somebody who was so close to graduation and who had such promise.
McClellan said McKee was active in student government and on the student judicial board.
McKee was also active in local Republican politics.
McClellan said the university had notified friends, faculty and administrators about the loss.
In response to the tragedy, he said the dean of students office had also ramped up its student counseling services.
Another IPFW student was killed last week when an accused drunken driver struck him as he left a concert at a downtown bar April 15, police said. Nathanial A. Gatchell also was set to graduate in May.
Its been a tough 10 days here in terms of the loss to our community, McClellan said.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.