Jason Caffrey just wants to point out – the man hit Wednesday night by a CP freight train is not homeless, nor is he living by the river, nor does he do drugs.
The man who was injured and currently recovering in hospital with broken bones and bruises, has his own home in eastern Maple Ridge and was just visiting old friends along the Fraser River who have seen better days.
“He’s not a crackhead or homeless (and) he wasn’t trying to commit suicide,” said Caffrey, the man’s son in law.
The man who was struck by the train is Richard Gullickson, 68. He was on his way to visit his friends and was walking beside the track, near 225th Street, and thinking he had left enough room for the train to pass. But the rail cars over hang the track and make it hard to judge the actual width.
“From what I understand, he knew the train was coming but he figured he had enough room,” said Caffrey. “But that wasn’t the case.” He added, his father in law knows he shouldn’t have been on the track.
The train hit Gullickson and tossed him aside, fracturing his elbow, ribs and hip, bruising his chest and putting a big gash into his head.
“It must have catapulted him and spun him around,” Caffrey said. “It must have thrown him quite hard.” He was very lucky, Caffrey added.
On Saturday, Gullickson was due have surgery on his elbow, then likely would face a few more weeks in hospital. “He was in a lot of pain when we saw him last,” said Caffrey.
He shared the details to help quell the online rumours, adding that he even jumped to conclusions after seeing the accident.
People always assume the worst until the facts come in, he said.
Gullickson parked his mobility scooter in a nearby lot and was walking with his keys in his hands. When he was hit, he and the keys went flying. It was initially nowhere to be found, but has since been returned.
Caffrey was nearby, on the Haney Wharf, when the accident happened, but didn’t know that it involved his father in law, until he got a call later.
“It was loud. You could hear it coming a mile away and then all of a sudden it slammed on its brakes. I even said, something’s happened at the track, and coincidentally, it turned out to be her father that got hit.” But he was back home by the team he learned a family member was involved.