Des Moines police say the man hit and killed by a train Tuesday night was running from a crime scene.
Police were called to a home invasion just after 9 p.m. Minutes later, a driver stopped at the train crossing on East Grand and watched as the suspect was struck by a passing train.
Des Moines police say the victim, 32-year-old Lopez Webster, was a suspect in the break-in.
By the time police arrived, Webster was gone. But not before they say he stabbed the homeowner more than half a dozen times.
“He does have cuts, stab wounds to his arms and his chest and his neck,” Sgt. Jason Halifax said.
Two minutes later, Ivan Nery was stopped at the railroad crossing and saw a man running by the tracks.
“This guy is trying to beat the train and then suddenly he jumps right in between the two cars of the train,” Nery recalled.
“The attempt was unsuccessful,” Sgt. Halifax confirmed. “He fell to the ground and was cut in half by the train - physically cut in half by the train.”
Witness, Ivan Nery called 911 not quite believing what he had seen, “it was gruesome. Yeah, it was gruesome.”
“Whether he was trying to jump on the train or between the cars, we don't really know,” Sgt. Halifax said. “We may never know.”
Whatever his reasons, Webster’s actions proved deadly.
The Union Pacific train had 75 cars and the crew didn't know that anything had happened. They were notified and stopped in Ankeny.
Police say the lights and crossing arms were tested and determined to be in working order.