A Clay County teen who fell about 40 feet from a rural Putnam County railroad bridge died from drowning after landing in the Big Walnut Creek.
Putnam County Coroner Thomas Miller told the Tribune-Star on Monday that Kody Allen Snyder, 16, of Brazil, also tested over the legal limit for alcohol following the accident at the the railroad bridge commonly known as the Big Four Arch Bridge west of Greencastle.
Miller said that Snyder, who landed in the shallow creek after accidentally falling from a compartment in the bridge structure underneath the rail bed, was in the water for a while until four other males with him could make their way safely out of the structure and get to the teen.
“The fall didn’t kill him,” Miller said. An autopsy was conducted Saturday at Terre Haute Regional Hospital by forensic pathologist Dr. Roland Kohr.
Snyder was pronounced dead at 5:55 a.m. Friday at Putnam County Hospital in Greencastle.
Detective Patrick McFadden of the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department reports that Snyder, who had been a student at Northview High School in Clay County, was found facedown in the creek by Justin Bryant, 21, Austin Bell and Benjamin Craftan, both 18, and a 17-year-old juvenile male. The five males had traveled to the railroad bridge together.
McFadden said the four attempted CPR, then placed Snyder into their vehicle and attempted to locate a hospital. Since they had arrived at the bridge via country roads from Clay County, however, they tried to return in the same direction and got lost in the countryside, McFadden said. They stopped at a rural residence to ask for help, he said, and those residents called 911 at about 4:21 a.m.
Two sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene along with Reelsville volunteer firefighters and Operation Life ambulance personnel to find CPR being performed on Snyder, who was then transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
McFadden said the investigation into the incident remains open, though it appears Snyder’s death was an accident.
“It was one of those deals where something bad happened, and it continued to get worse,” he said of the young people’s decision to visit the dangerous bridge at night, resulting in the accident, and then their unfamiliarity with the area.
Miller said that with the onset of summer and young people being out of school, it is an appropriate time for parents and guardians to talk to young people about being responsible and not taking risks in an effort to have a good time.
The incident is also being investigated by CSX Railroad Police. Trespassing on railroad property such as the bridge is a criminal act.