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Girl, 15, struck by train, killed

A freight train struck and killed a 15-year-old girl from Cromwell early Tuesday in northeast Kosciusko County, the sheriff’s department said.

Kalee Nicole Skaggs, a freshman at Wawasee High School in Syracuse, was walking over the railroad crossing on County Road 1000 North, just south of County Road 1250, when a CSX train hit her, said Sgt. Chad Hill, sheriff’s department spokesman.

Hill said Skaggs lived in a neighborhood next to the two sets of tracks. The westbound train did not have time to stop to avoid hitting her, he said, adding that the lights and gates at the crossing were working properly.

At 2:40 a.m., emergency crews were sent to the scene where Skaggs was pronounced dead from blunt-force injuries, according to the sheriff’s department.

Hill said Skaggs was alone when she was struck and that foul play is not suspected, though investigators are trying to ascertain whether her death was an accident or a suicide. No obvious signs of a suicide, such as a note, have been found, he said.

Wawasee High School Principal Don Harman described Skaggs as quiet, respectful and well liked by her peers. He said she took part in the school’s choir program.

Harman said the school will have counselors and local pastors on hand this week to help students deal with the loss. “We do have a very good, strong student body who’s very supportive,” he said. “As a (school) corporation, our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and the community.”