Man dies when hit by train for second time

September 4, 2009 10:59:03 AM PDT
A homeless man who survived being struck by a train two years ago has died after being hit by another train as he sat on the tracks. Phillip Holman was hit by a train in Huntsville in 2007 while intoxicated on brandy. His right arm was ripped off and his left leg was badly broken.

Doctors at Huntsville Hospital reattached his arm and straightened his leg. He recuperated at the Downtown Rescue Mission in Huntsville. In an interview while recovering, he said he wanted to stop drinking and repair his relationship with his family in nearby Madison, "who I have let down more times than I can count."

Huntsville police said the 46-year-old Holman was sitting on the tracks Wednesday when he was struck and killed by a Norfolk Southern train.

"He could get depressed when he drank," mission chaplain Kevin Marsh said.

Holman used to do carpentry work. But Marsh had been trying to help him qualify for disability compensation due to the injuries from the first train accident and "some mental issues."

Holman got turned down for disability payments "even though he had too much wrong with him to be able to work and take care of himself," Marsh said.

"There is a man dead and I'm frustrated because there are cracks in the system," the chaplain said.

"Obviously, even if he had his disability check, he could have sat down in front of the train. Or maybe he wouldn't have been as depressed and wouldn't have done it," he said.

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