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May 9, 2013

Eastern Ave. man ID'd in train crash

A 57-year-old Eastern Avenue resident has been identified as the man struck and killed by a commuter rail train in the Grove Street woods Tuesday afternoon.

A Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority spokesman identified the man Wednesday morning as Matthew Hartford, confirming that Hartford’s wife had been notified of his death Tuesday night.

Massachusetts Bay Commuter Rail officials had notified Gloucester police of their concern about the well-being of a man standing near the tracks before the 2:08 p.m. train to Boston arrived at Gloucester’s Railroad Avenue station. But when officers arrived on scene moments later to check on the man, they found Hartford’s body beside the tracks just south of the Gloucester Avenue overpass, about 500 yards north of the Gloucester station on Railroad Avenue.

A medical examiner removed Hartford’s body from the tracks; the Fire Department’s ambulance service was not used.

Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello reiterated Wednesday that he could not confirm what may have led to the man’s death, but said that police do not suspect foul play in the case.

The MBTA confirmed that the investigation was still ongoing as of Wednesday evening, with a spokesman unable to confirm how Hartford ended up on the tracks. As in similar cases involving trains and pedestrians, MBTA officials have been referring to Hartford as a “trespasser.”

Asked if there will be toxicology examinations of Hartford or of anyone else involved in the crash, MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said there is no indication that the train engineer was at fault.

“There has been absolutely no suggestion by anyone that the engineer did something wrong,” Pesaturo wrote.

Buses transported passengers between the Rockport and Gloucester stations and the train was delayed about 45 minutes, with other trains on the line delayed for about half an hour as well.

Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3451, or at

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