EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) -- As Eugene Police released the name of the man who was hit and killed by a train Thursday evening near the Federal Courthouse, friends of the victim are now sharing their thoughts on what they're calling a tragic accident.
49-year-old Aaron Daywitt of Eugene died in the crash on Thursday, September 20=. The crash happened around 5:14 PM at a railroad crossing near 8th Avenue and Hilyard Street.
Investigators believe that Daywitt may have been wearing headphones when the crash happened.
Police say Daywitt was heading south across a railroad crossing toward Franklin Boulevard when he was hit by an eastbound Amtrak passenger train. The area where Daywitt was crossing is popular with bicyclists and pedestrians who cross over to access the South Bank bike path of the Ruth Bascom Willamette River bike path system.
Former Springfield mayor John Lively saw the crash happen. Lively says the crossing arms were down, the warning lights and bells were on and the train was also blaring its horn.
However, the crossing arm doesn't reach across to the side of the sidewalk where Daywitt was attempting to cross.
"That's what surprised me. I watched because when I first saw him coming up, I thought he was going to stop at the edge like I was stopped at the edge. So I assumed, and then when he just kept riding,= it was beside me, because the horn was so loud and the bells were ringing, but I never saw the person look towards the train, or turn or anything,” said Lively in an interview with NewsSource 16 on Friday.
Lively says Daywitt was dressed in a cycling vest and he also had a helmet on.
"For us it's truly a tragic accident and we're going to miss him dearly,” said Todd Zimmerman, a friend and co-worker of Aaron Daywitt.
Friends and family members are now remembering Daywitt, calling him an avid cyclist, a man who didn't take risks and someone who had a lot to live for.
Daywitt was a mortgage broker for Alpine Mortgage in Eugene. Zimmerman worked with Daywitt for ten years and called him a friend for twenty years.
Zimmerman says Daywitt biked back and forth from home to work nearly every day, rain or shine, day or night and was safe about it. Zimmerman calls it a tragic accident.
"He enjoyed where he was, in an amazing place in his life. He loved life. Aaron was not a risk taker," Zimmerman told NewsSource 16 in an interview on Friday.
“He got a lot of enjoyment about being on that bike. And I think for Aaron, it was a good time for him to reflect on his family,” said Zimmerman.
Daywitt is survived by his wife and two young daughters. His workplace, Alpine Mortgage, has set up a community fund to collect money for his family's expenses. If you want to help you can contact their office at 541 342-7572 or at 1200 Executive Parkway, Suite 100, near Valley River Center in Eugene.