TRAGIC ACCIDENT: Teen Killed By Train Remembered

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New details are emerging about a teenager who was killed Sunday when he fell beneath a moving train on the east side of Des Moines.

For the rest of his life, Easter will be different for Marlon Grahm. It's the day he watched his best friend die.

Grahm and his friends had been drinking and were walking down Des Moines Street early Sunday morning when his long time buddy, 18-year-old Phillip Simmons decided to jump on a slow passing train.

“I said ‘hey bro, we're not messing with that train bro. We're not gonna jump it no more.’ And he goes up to it to try to jump it and I grab him. I say ‘no bro. You're not going, you're not going to go to that train. You're not gonna to try jumping it.’ And I turned and looked for everybody else and I turned back towards him and he's running back towards it again."

Then, tragedy struck.

"He grabs it and it just knocks him over and he landed perfectly on the rail road track," Grahm added.

Shawneesha Clark was also there.

“He put his foot up. He was on it. And the train jerked and he like lost his footing. And I don't know how he fell the way he did. It looks like he should have fell off of the tracks completely. But he didn't. He fell into them. And he put his arm out for help. We couldn't help him."

Friends and family will remember Simmons as a practical joker who always had a smile on his face.

"He had a big smile. He was very friendly, had a very big heart and he lived life the way he wanted to right now," aunt Amanda Gamblin said.

Police are trying to figure out who provided alcohol to the teens. That person could face charges.

A candle light vigil for Simmons is planned Tuesday evening along the tracks where he was killed.


    • chris

      The kids an adult, most people don’t hold their parents hand at that age. I understand this must be shocking to someone still being breast fed STUPID at your age…

  • RoccoB

    LOL>…what is it when someone dies they have to have some idiotic candlelight vigil at the spot he died?
    Odd behavior in America now.

    • sad, sad, sad!

      These people are coming together to remember someone they cared about. Not sure how that is ‘odd’.
      What I find odd is someone who sits around and makes cruel, derogatory, hurtful, racist comments about people and situations they know nothing about.

      • Dawn

        Ur right it is very sad…My daughter watched her friend b ran over by a train…There was nothing anyone could do. They stopped him once already. We were all young once n I am pretty sure made some very bad decisions growing up. It sickens me to see these judgmental and racist people on these news sites passing judgement.

  • sad, sad, sad!

    You three are all pigs. I’m sure you’ve never made a bad decision growing up, or raising your children. I’m sure none of you ever drank when you were under age. I’m sure none of you have ever driven after having a drink, or a toke.

  • Bill

    Yes, I have made bad decisions in life. But, that being said, have done nothing as stupid as jumping between train cars that are in motion.

    And, no I have never had a “toke” you refer to.

    Lets start a petition and nominate this young man for a Darwin Award.

  • Steve in Iowa

    Still no mention of the crew that was operating the train or the folks that had to clean up this drunken teens mess. There were more people affected by this than what the author is mentioning.

    • sad, sad, sad!

      Yes, you are right. I’m sure that it is very heart wrenching for those people as well. we have a tendency to forget the rescue workers. Hopefully those on the train didn’t have to see much of this. I am sure it will be something that will always stay with them though. Thank you for reminding us of the others affected by this tragedy.

  • Dawn

    It is always so easy to blame the parents. These kids are all 18 and over, what would you like us to do? Spank em? Once a child turns 18, they are considered an ADULT and we, as parents, lose control. It amazes how you ignorant, racist judgmental people can sit on these news websites daily and say whatever you feel like to get a rise out of people..He did not deserve ta die nor did his friends deserve to see that, they will never forget it. He made one bad decision and paid for it with his life and how you people don’t have any empathy makes me ill! Shame on you all. I wish I could say what I really feel like saying but I know it will be deleted but I will say this…God don’t like ugly and you my friends are the ugliest I have ran into! I will definitely put you in my prayers! RIP Philip<3

    • sad, sad, sad!

      My sympathies to your daughter and all of those affected by this tragic accident!
      It’s unfortunate there are heartless people who take this as a chance to make a joke, or a judgment.
      Know that the thoughts and prayers of many more people are with you all!

      • Dawn

        Thank you very much, it is much appreciated. It is refreshing to know that there ARE still good people in this crazy world we live in. I am going to show my daughter your post because she is taking this very very hard and she needs to know that not everyone feels that it is their fault. My heart is broken for his family and as a mother, these kids that were there. It is a tragedy and a mother’s worse nightmare. This is something they will never forget and I can assure you, will change my daughter forever. Thank you for being so compassionate!

    • sad, sad, sad!

      It’s ignorant, racist POS’s like you that keep racism alive in America. You give Iowans a bad name.

      Why do you have to do everything you can to incite hate? What, exactly, do you think comments like the one above really accomplish?

      Does it somehow make you feel superior while you sit in your mom’s basement waiting for your monthly government check?

      I don’t understand racism at all. I work for an international company. I’ve met good, and bad, people of many races and ethnic backgrounds.

      You, RoccoB, are one of the worst types of people I have ever encountered….ignorant, intolerant and vocal.

      • sad, sad, sad!

        Ok, this comment was in response to an awful comment made by RoccoB that has since been deleted. Sorry if anyone else took offense to it.

      • sad, sad, sad!

        I am, you are the racist pig on this blog, so, YOU are the one my words are directed at!
        You spoke pretty big about Dawn and what a bad mom she is. Yet, when she offered to meet you face to face and give you a chance to tell her in person what you thought of her, you disappeared. ‘Man up’.


    This is sad and I am sorry for their loss…however WHY are 18 yr olds out drinking at that time anyways?! WHERE were their/his parents?!

    • Dawn

      well Jamie, I can only speak for myself here. I was in bed like most normal people because I had to get up early. My daughter was spending the night at her friend’s house to my knowledge. I knew nothing about alcohol or being out walking anywhere. Like most parents of a 19 year old, we don’t usually have tabs on the whereabouts of our children 24/7. Am I a bad parent, not at all but I am however, human and make mistakes here and there. My daughter graduated from High School and has never been to jail. She grew up in a good home with no drugs or alcohol and although her father and I are not together, we co-parent very nicely. People are so quick to pass judgment on the parents and it is truly unfair. I expected this though because this is our society. So, there you have it, now you know where her parents were and how she was raised. These were all good kids that made a bad decision, like a lot of people do. I am done explaining myself to you people that pass judgment, what is understood, needs no explanations. You have a blessed day

      • Steve in Iowa

        I have an 18 year old son who recently went to Colorado. I have no idea if he’s drinking, speeding around the town he’s in or if he’s getting in to any trouble. Does that make me a bad parent?

  • lg

    im going to put like. he was my little cousin and he made a bad decision and it cost him his life. when we grow up we all make alot of dumb decisons, myself included but no one deserves to die. he didnt have the best child who growing up so some of it could be related to his parents as far as his decision making but at the end of the day it was his decison no one else. i will celebrate his life but i will also make a effort to make sure his younger brother makes better choices. everyone is going to have there opinion and you know what thats ok cause it america and they have that right. they didnt know him and im not going to let what they think bother me. so let them say what there going to say and as a group lets all learn from this and do what we can to prevent this from happening to someone else.

    • Dawn

      I am Shawneesha’s mother and I am sorry for your loss. This has been so hard for everyone involved. As a mother, it could have just as easily been my daughter and that just breaks my heart. I do not condone my daughter drinking or anyone else under the age but once a child turns 18, there is little that can be done and this is the age where they have to learn from their own experiences and this I believe will change her forever. It is all just heartbreaking and to get on here and see such racist, judgmental pigs with no empathy, just makes me very very sad. No one is to blame in this. No one is perfect and everyone has made a bad choice in their lifetime. My heart and prayers go out to you and your family and I pray that God will help to ease the pain. he was an amazing young man and will be missed dearly.

  • Tragic Circumstances

    I did know Phillip and even though the side of him I knew wasn’t ever the best (he was a rough kid) I still don’t believe he deserved to die. This is a very unfortunate turn of events and whether its Parenting or a young man making a risky decision it is a lesson for all parents to hold your babies close while you can because you never know when tragedy like this will strike. My sincere regards to his friends and family who are grieving for this young man who could have had so much life ahead of him.

    • Dawn

      You are so right. This has opened my eyes and things will be different. I have been on the phone with my daughter daily and from now on, I will know where she is and what she is doing at all times. We have had many talks since this happened, hugged, cried together and I truly believe this will change my daughter forever. I think she gets it now, life is too short and you must always think of the consequences of everything we do in life. Thank you for the kind words, you have no idea how much they matter right now.

  • Dawn

    Rocco….Throw out your address. I want to come and talk to you. I am going to give you an answer to your question about when my daughter is going to get pregnant. You disgusting PIG. You are the prime example of white trash. You sit behind that computer and spout racist remarks and hateful words but would NEVER say any of it to anyone’s face. COWARD! Bet you won’t give your address on here. I am done even entertaining you. I refuse to stoop to your level so I will just leave it at this…If you really want to ask questions and get the answers, put your address out there and I will personally come pay you a visit. Enough said! I will be waiting.

    • chris

      What are common symptoms of stupidity?
      Would they by chance be lack of common curtesy followed by the need to post thoughtless comments on tragic events?
      If so, the only cure is to stfu and unplug your keyboard.

      • Eric

        This was not a tragedy Chris. A tragedy is when a ship sinks full of passengers and many die.

        This was an act of thoughtful action on his part, i.e. stupidity.

  • Dan

    It is sad what happened but you have no idea what it is like for the train crew to have to go find this and be witnesses. My husband is a rr conductor and believe me it stays with them their whole career and life. People do not understand how dangerous of a job it is. Just like when people decide to commit suicide by train. The train crew has to live with that too. I know, everyone hates waiting for trains but you have to be smart and stay away . And in the end the railroad will get sued. RIP young man.

    • Dawn

      You are right, we often forget how this could affect them as well. I was not there to witness this but my daughter was and I have been literally just sick every since. I can only imagine how terrible that would be. This is something that I am sure never leaves their minds. My heart and prayers go out to all that were involved in this horrible tragedy. What is crazy is, when I was younger, I had to wait on a train every morning and I was always late for school. We started jumping the trains everyday to make it to school on time. I was sober, no drugs or alcohol involved. I am very lucky. I was young and dumb and very thankful, I didn’t get hurt. I just hope if anything positive can come out of this, that these young kids will learn from this and realize that life is too short to take such risks because there are consequences to everything we do. Thank you for not judging these kids on their mistakes. This just shows that you have empathy and it is a great quality to have.

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