MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Kristopher Barlow was walking to the hospital to visit his girlfriend Wednesday morning when he was struck by a train, his mother said Friday.

Barlow was between the rails on the train track in Westover, not far from Joseph Bartolo Memorial Bridge, which takes W.Va. 7 over Monongahela River from Morgantown to Westover. He was walking from downtown toward Evansdale.

Sabrina Barlow said she was told her son was wearing earbuds, which is why he did not hear the approaching train.

Kristopher, a 35-year-old electrician from Rupert, in Greenbrier County, came to Monongalia County about a month ago to be with his girlfriend, who had heart surgery at a local hospital.

Shortly before he was hit, Kristopher texted his girlfriend, “I love you,” and told her he was on his way to see her, Sabrina Barlow said.

Kristopher has undergone multiple surgeries, including one to his brain, his mom told The Dominion Post Friday, adding that doctors have told her he won’t be the same. Until he wakes up, the full extent of his brain injury won’t be known, she said.

“I keep telling him, ‘if you wake up, I’ll go get your son for you’,” Sabrina said, referring to his 11-year-old son, Kristopher.

Barlow was hit by a fully loaded Norfolk Southern train hauling coal and was taken to J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital.

The crew of the train tried to warn Kristopher by blowing the horn, Jonathan Glass, Norfolk Southern spokesperson, previously said. Depending on weight and speed, trains can take as far as a mile to stop. The train involved consisted of two locomotive engines and 131 loaded coal cars.

Roughly eight trains pass through Morgantown a day between Norfolk Southern and CSX, who has track usage rights, Glass said.

Norfolk Southern is conducting an internal investigation.

This story, written by William Dean, first appeared in the Saturday, April 7 edition of The Dominion Post.

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