Friends Remember Young Man Killed by Train as ‘Fun, Colorful Soul’

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- “Ian would want anyone to know life can end in an instant, at anytime and any place, and to just be happy. That’s what Ian was,” Jake Gracey, Ian Pfeiffer’s friend said.

Twenty-six-year-old Ian Pfeiffer died when he was struck by a train near 3rd and Vine Street shortly after 12:30 a.m. Saturday.

Witnesses told Channel 13 Pfeiffer walked around the lowered traffic signal arms and attempted to jump onto the train while it was moving.

As police are continuing to investigate the incident, his friends and family are grieving over the tragic loss.

They describe Pfeiffer as a fun, colorful soul. From his art, love of music, or just the way he could lift up anyone's spirits, they say Pfeiffer treated friends like family.

“I got the news and it was just crushing because I’ve lost friends before and it's just that recurring feeling over and over again. It’s not fun and there's just no words to describe it, especially because of how amazing he is and the person he was,” Gracey said.

Gracey said Pfeiffer really grew as a person within this past year. Coming from a rough past, Pfeiffer moved from Milwaukee to Des Moines and changed his life around. He found a job and a strong friend group. Gracey says Pfeiffer was actually saving up money and was supposed to move into an apartment with a friend on Saturday. He was excited to take another positive step in his life.

“I remember taking him to go apply for jobs and stuff and I remember for two solid days it was just jobs after jobs,” Gracey said. “He finally landed one at the Grumpy Goat and I think after two months of being there he was running the kitchen, completely running the kitchen.”

His friends started a GoFundMe to help with funeral costs because his family is wanting to have the funeral back in Wisconsin. So far they've raised a little over $2,500 of their $10,000 goal.

Gracey says they are finding other ways to raise money as well. As the owner of Banned Life Clothing, he is designing a shirt where the proceeds will go toward funeral costs. They are also working to sell some of Pfeiffer's artwork, hopefully at a big event at the Grumpy Goat in the coming weeks.

Gracey says this really was just a freak accident.

“He didn’t care if you were white, black, gay, straight, you didn’t have tattoos, or were heavily tattooed,” Gracey said. “He didn’t care. He treated you like you should be treated, like a human being, and that was what was so amazing about Ian.”

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