SMYRNA, Tenn. (WKRN) – Loved ones are mourning the loss of a father who was hit and killed by a train in Smyrna.
The deadly crash happened near the Smyrna town square at around 10:45 a.m. Monday, Nov. 13, claiming the life of 51-year-old Berhane Nguse Woldetensae.
“He was such a good-hearted person,” said Awett Tedla, a friend of the family.
Woldetensae moved to Nashville in 2004 from Ethiopia with dreams of a better life and quickly became a pillar in the community.
“He was loved by many and he was very active in the community,” said Tedla.
Described as a loving husband and father of two young children, Woldetensae and his family were closing their chapter in Nashville and starting another one closer to family in Indianapolis when he was killed.
“It’s devastating,” Tedla explained.
Woldetensae sold his Nashville home and was back in Tennessee closing on his house when his SUV was hit by a train near the intersection of Front Street and Washington Street in the depot district. Witnesses told News 2 that he appeared to be idling on the tracks behind traffic when the railroad arm dropped, trapping him.
“It’s been devastating. It’s been devastating for him to pass away like that. I hope they can get to the bottom of it, you know, just for the peace of mind,” Tedla said.
Data from the Federal Railroad Administration dating back to the 1970s indicates that, while the crash reports showed no history of anyone getting trapped on the crossing, several people have been injured or killed while either driving across or stopping on the crossing.
“His cousin went by there and looked at it, and he said it’s a very dangerous area where you can easily get trapped and the light turns on, there is no way to go forward or backward,” she said.
The community, hoping to help during the tragedy, created a GoFundMe as Woldetensae’s wife starts over with their family.
“She’s still in kind of shock and she’s young. She is just learning the language. She is a stay-at-home mom with the two kids,” said Tedla, explaining that she is now left searching for work while battling the heartache of losing her husband.
“I hope people can find it in their heart. They can hopefully help.”
An official with the Town of Smyrna said the investigation remains active. News 2 also reached out to CSX for comment, but has yet to hear back.