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NIANTIC - A train struck and killed 73-year-old Donald W. Bissey on Thursday morning as he pushed a snow blower across tracks near his Niantic home.

The accident occurred shortly before 10:40 a.m. at a crossing near the intersection of 100 South Main and East Lewis streets. Macon County Coroner Michael Day said Bissey was pushing the snow blower, which may have become ensnared in the tracks.

"This is something that he routinely used and apparently routinely crossed the tracks with it at that location," Day said.

Bissey was standing with his back to the Norfolk Southern Corp. train when it struck him, Day said. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 11:58 a.m. Day characterized Bissey's injuries as "massive trauma, coupled with generalized destructive trauma to the lower extremities."

Rudy Husband, a spokesman for Norfolk Southern, said the railroad was moving two engines west from Decatur to Naples when the accident occurred. The engines were not unattended at any point.

Day said the crossing is closed to vehicle traffic, so there are no overt safety devices such as lights or gates.

"In essence, it is an open crossing. It no longer accommodates vehicle traffic, but pedestrian traffic in the area is not uncommon," he said.

The Niantic Fire Department, Macon County Sheriff's Office, Decatur Ambulance Service and representatives from Norfolk Southern responded to the scene.

Toxicology testing and an inquest are pending, according to Day.

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