Prince George's County police have ruled as accidental the death of a 17-year-old University Park boy who was hit by a freight train in College Park this month.
Alexander Merrill Walsh, a senior at Eleanor Roosevelt High School, was struck by a CSX train Jan. 4 while walking along the tracks with friends. He died three days later. The state medical examiner's office has not completed the report on Walsh's death, but police said that Walsh and his friends had been drinking at the time of the accident, according to Sgt. Gary Cunningham.
Walsh's father, Christopher, said he had been told by officials at Prince George's Hospital Center that his son had a very small amount of alcohol in his system.
Nicolas Baca, 19, of Beltsville, was arrested at the scene and charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors, after an altercation with a police officer, according to his attorney, Jeffrey Wennar, of Landover. He was released on his own recognizance and is scheduled to appear March 7 in District Court in Hyattsville.
Baca, who said he had been friends with Walsh since grade school, said the tracks were a common meeting place for Walsh and several other friends for years.
"We all basically go out there and hang out and play the guitar and stuff, and nothing like this had ever happened. It was just a horrible accident," he said. "He wasn't on the tracks but he was kind of close, and it was a big freight train. You could just see the train suck him back in. I just panicked. Everyone did."
Wennar said that his client was distraught over witnessing the accident and that in light of the circumstances, the charges should be dropped.
"Can you imagine seeing something like that, seeing your friend hit by a freight train?" he asked. "He was upset. He had just tried CPR, and he couldn't calm down. Maybe he was getting up in [the police officer's] face a little, but under the circumstances, the charges should be dropped. They only compound an already terrible issue."