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Train death a suicide, police say

by Alan McArthur
Landmark reporter

The Parkville Police Department has identified the man hit by a coal train along Main Street.

Stephen Pfaltzgraf, 54, was struck by the train on Wednesday, Oct. 8 around 8:45 p.m. at the intersection of Main Street and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe, tracks through downtown Parkville.

According to Eric Sligar, Parkville police information officer, the Jackson County Medical Examiner confirmed the identity of Pfaltzgraf. The cause of death is an apparent suicide. Pfaltzgraf had to be identified through dental records by the medical examiner.

Sligar said the man is from Pleasant Valley, south of Liberty, but appears to have previously lived a number of years in Parkville. The Landmark also found a phone listing for Pfaltzgraf with an address along Eagle Ridge Drive in Platte City.

Sligar said Pfaltzgraf’s vehicle was found in the downtown area.

There were three witnesses who saw the man in the downtown area and two of the witnesses saw the Pfaltzgraf walk onto the tracks ahead of the train. The two witnesses were not Parkville residents, according to Sligar.

The engineer of the train apparently saw the man and stopped the train in downtown Parkville, where it rested for around three hours while police investigated.

While the train was stopped, a number of people were blocked on the south side of the tracks, and eventually a police car led the vehicles through English Landing Park to the rail crossing at Ball Power Equipment at the east end of the park.


10/15/08: Train fatality still being investigated


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