Stepfather of train victim gives eyewitness account of what happened
It's something you'll only see on KLTV 7 - an eyewitness account of a deadly accident that killed an East Texas high school freshman. 14 year old Michael Colgrove died when he was hit by a Union Pacific train trying to cross the railroad tracks in southeast Anderson County.
His funeral is set for Friday in Palestine. And, in a KLTV 7 exclusive tonight, Michael's stepfather, who was with him when this tragedy happened, sat down with our Layron Livingston. In this interview, the stepfather recalls not just the horror of losing his stepson, but his own narrow escape.
"I couldn't have asked for a better son. It's been an honor being his dad."
Chris Thompson says the accident replays in his mind over and over.
"We've been out there at least a hundred times. I always carried a backpack with me out there. We kind of took a couple of hours when we went out there. I took some drinks, some snacks, really that's what it was all about...a bunch of boys going out there messing around," said Chris. "So it's not like it was the first time that we've been there, and it's definitely not the first time that we've been there when there was a train there."
Chris, his two sons, and a friend from school began crossing those tracks last weekend, almost making it to the end.
"I was setting there, and I was loading the gun, and they were just kind of taking a couple of shots down in the water with 22s," said Chris. "We were all squatted down, and Mike had seen the train before anybody else."
Chris says by then, the train was just a few yards away.
"We never heard it, we never heard the horn, we never heard the engine," said Chris. "Mike, all he concentrated on was making sure I got up, and that Chance got up."
Running, they tried to get to a safety boxes on the side of the tracks.
"I'd fell down, and as soon as I fell, Mike didn't care that there was a train coming. All he was hollering was Dad, Dad you okay, Dad, that's all he cared about."
Chris says he didn't see anymore.
"I went over the edge, and it's about a 40 foot drop and I was just hanging on the trestle, just one finger, just hanging on, just my claws on the side of it. The train was shaking it, just trying to keep from falling."
Mickey's brother made it to the end. Mickey's friend fell, the train passing over him, it's wheels missing him by inches.
"I know when I was hanging on to the tracks, I swear somebody grabbed my hand and helped me back on top. I know that he was there," said Chris. Notes from Mickey's classmates provide some comfort.
"He never met anybody that didn't like him," said Chris. "He cared about everybody...he never cared about himself."
It's a reminder of the life he lived.
"I would tell him that I loved him...and I would tell him thank you for helping back on top of that bridge."
Sheriff's Deputies say Saturday's wind may have prevented the group from hearing the train. Michael's funeral services have been set for friday at one at Palestine's Evangelistic Temple.