Man killed by train after saving his daughter’s life

Justin McCary shown with his wife and two daughters. (Photo courtesy WRCB via NBC News)

EAST RIDGE, TN (WRCB)  A man is being hailed a hero for pushing his daughter out of the way of an oncoming train. Unfortunately he lost his life saving hers.

Family members say 10-year-old Haley McCary suffered a fractured pelvis and internal bleeding after the 15 foot fall from that bridge to the water below. She is recovering after undergoing surgery and is expected to be okay.

Now, her family is remembering her father, 31-year-old Justin McCary and how he saved his daughter’s life.

What started as a day of making memories ended tragically for one East Ridge family. Family members say Justin McCary was looking for rocks with his two daughters along the tracks on a railroad bridge.  At one point, they heard the train coming. The oldest daughter got away, but the 10 year old couldn’t after her foot became stuck in one of the tracks.

McCary was able to get her free but only had enough time to push his daughter out of the way to keep her from being struck before he was fatally struck himself.

“I think that any of us would have done the same thing,” said a neighbor, Donna Edwards.  “And our hearts go out to them. It’s just sad that something like this had to happen.”

Neighbors like Edwards are still in shock and say this is the second incident to happen on these tracks in just three months.

In July, a train hit a box truck that was parked on the tracks. Police later discovered it was stolen.  Neighbors say that crash destroyed the walkways along the bridge.

“It pushed the whole guardrail from the walkway, across the trestle.  It pushed that whole guardrail down, and so there weren’t any safety barriers on that walkway.”

Despite this father’s heroic actions to save his daughter, Edwards wonders if the accident could have been prevented.

For now.. A family remembers a man dedicated to his wife and two girls, taken too soon.

Police say the conductor of that train was questioned by investigators. No charges have been filed at this time.

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