Man killed by train in Westport a priest from Wilton
The death of the Rev. Colin J. McKenna — hit by an eastbound train about 11:20 a.m. Wednesday — is being investigated as a “possible suicide,” Aaron Donovan, a spokesman for Metro-North, said Thursday.
A statement issued by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport said church officials were “shocked and profoundly distressed to learn of Fr. Colin McKenna’s tragic death ...
“Our condolences go out to his family and friends, his brother priests and all those who will feel his loss.”
Over the past two years, McKenna worked as a writer and editor in the communications office of the Diocese of Bridgeport. He also helped out in area parishes, celebrating Masses on weekends. He also wrote a blog that appeared on the website of the Fairfield County Catholic, the diocesan newspaper.
Before that he most recently had been assigned to Sacred Heart Church in the Georgetown section of Redding.
The investigation into the incident is being led by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority police, who are expected to seek a ruling from the state’s chief medical examiner on the circumstances of McKenna’s death.
Donovan said that McKenna was neither a railroad worker nor a passenger, and had no reason to be on the tracks just past the Saugatuck railroad bridge.
“We don’t know the circumstances of why he was trespassing,” Donovan said of the victim Wednesday.
The eastbound train that struck McKenna was held at the scene for several hours, triggering the series of rail service delays. The train had left Grand Central Terminal at 10:04 a.m., and was scheduled to arrive in New Haven at 12:10 p.m.
Normal service was restored on the New Haven Line shortly before 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, railroad officials reported.
McKenna was ordained as a priest by Bishop Edward M. Egan in May 1999. A native of Westport, he was a 1982 graduate of Fairfield College Preparatory School and later graduated from the University of Vermont. He earned a master of divinity degree from Pope John XXIII Seminary in Weston, Mass., in 1999.
McKenna’s first assignment was as parochial vicar of St. Joseph Parish in Shelton. In addition to Sacred Heart Parish in Georgetown, he served at St. Roch Parish in Greenwich, St. Mary Parish in Greenwich and in other parishes throughout the diocese.
Bishop Frank J. Caggiano will celebrate a Mass of Christian Burial for McKenna, the diocese announced, but funeral arrangements will be set later.
The site of the incident is near the scene of the last railroad fatality in town, when the body of Annette White, a 46-year-old Maine woman visiting a local friend, was found floating in the Saugatuck River not far from the railroad bridge spanning the river in December 2013.
Officials later said that White was struck by a westbound train just east of the Saugatuck depot as she tried to cross the bridge, causing her to fall into the icy water below.
The last fatality on Metro-North’s New Haven Line took place Aug. 7 when a 28-year-old Stamford woman, who apparently jumped or fell onto the tracks in front of an approaching train at the Cos Cob station, was killed as some witnesses said she appeared to be trying retrieve her purse. Her death, however, was later ruled a suicide by the state medical examiner.