THE distraught dad of a dog walker killed by a train fears he was listening to music on his mobile phone and didn’t hear it coming down the track.
John Cresswell was making his way over lines at a rail farm crossing in Horden when he was struck by the Grand Central train heading out of Hartlepool.
A witness who lives nearby told his family how he watched as John spotted the train at the last minute, while he chased after his sister’s terrier Roxy and tried to leap to safety.
But he failed and was hit by the 5.09pm train.
Paramedics rushed to the scene on Sunday as the train, with its shocked passengers, stopped further down the track.
But medics were unable to revive John and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
John was found with his mobile phone and earphones – and his distraught dad, Kenny, believes the only explanation for his son not hearing the train was that he was listening to music through his earphones.
Kenny, 49, of Hetton, said; “We are just devastated. We keep going over and over how this could have happened.
“I went to the scene and I spoke to a man who lives next to the crossing who saw it happen. He told me he saw John crossing, and saw the dog shoot off and John chased after it across the track. The man could see the train coming and it sounded its horn –but John didn’t see it.
“The train was getting closer and closer, but John didn’t see it. The man saw John look up and see the train at the last minute. It looks like he tried to make a leap for it back across the track and he thought he had made it.”
But sadly the resident discovered John’s body at the side of the track – with the dog nowhere to be seen.
Kenny said: “John had his mobile and his earphones on him and after speaking to that man, who was absolutely devastated, the only possible explanation is that John didn’t hear the train because he was listening to his music.
“ I do it myself when I’m on my bike. I know people shouldn’t – but they do and this is what can happen.”
In a sad twist, the dog ran to the home of John’s sister’s friend in Horden, just half an hour before police knocked on the door and told her John, who had been living with her, in Grants Houses, had been killed.
Kenny, who laid flowers at the scene of the accident, at Blackhills crossing, off First Street in Horden, said: “John had a heart of gold. He will be missed by everyone knew him. He would do anything for anyone.”
John’s sister Trina Cresswell, 30, who owns the dog said: “The dog usually walked beside him when he lets it off the lead.
“When he was out and about, he would take Roxy for a walk.”
Trina, mum to Rebecca, 11, and 15-month-old Kaycee, added; “It’s just awful.”