DENTON, Texas - Friends remember a man killed by a train Monday night as a loving father and active cyclist.
Joseph Whelan, 53, died when a Denton County Transit Authority train hit him.
Authorities say crossing arms were down and horns blew before the collision. Whelan died after Denton PD says he was struck by a train on Brinker Road just after 7 p.m.
Whelan was pronounced dead at the hospital. A spokesperson with DCTA says the train was traveling around 40 miles per hour and went into standard emergency braking procedure before the collision. That procedure included blowing the train’s horn.
Officer Allison Vetere says investigators are working with the DCTA to figure out what happened.
“We can’t definitively say that it was a factor in the accident, but Bluetooth headphones were located near the bicyclist as well as a phone that was playing music,” she said.
DCTA and police say the crossing arms were down and functioning properly before the collision.
A friend of Whelan’s told FOX4 off camera the 53-year-old was a family man and a loving father, who enjoyed cycling and riding motorcycles.
Jay Weidenbach didn’t know Whelan but crosses the intersection using the Denton Katy Trail on his bike rides to work.
“The infrastructure isn’t always built to accommodate us,” he said.
The trail breaks at Brinker road. It doesn’t have its own crossing.
Weidenbach says people who want to continue on the trail across the street must travel to a different intersection to use the crosswalk. He says some use a different method.
They just go straight across the road, either hopping the curb or sort of going around the curb,” he said. “I definitely wouldn’t recommend being there if there was a train going through.”