Father killed on rail yard job, weeks before son's high school graduation
A devoted railroad worker is killed over the weekend after being hit by a train while on the job.
A longtime friend says Allen Lowe's larger-than-life personality could make anyone laugh.
Now he leaves two kids behind, just missing his only son's high school graduation.
Lowe was killed at the CSX Wauhatchie Rail Yard in Chattanooga on Saturday.
Just two days after the tragic incident, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Railroad Administration both have crews investigating
But those who knew him best are also searching for answers.
"We were just in disbelief, completely shocked. you know hoping that it wasn't true," says Kelly Ball. She has called Lowe her friend for the better part of the last decade.
She and her husband spoke with him, just hours before he was killed.
Allen planned to head to Kinsport, Tennessee to visit the couple and his children after his shift.
"If you knew Allen, you would remember him. He had the biggest heart of anyone in the world and if anybody ever needed anything he was there to help them," said Ball.
Ball says Allen was a big guy, fit for working on rail yard, with the heart to match.
She says his life was cut short and she wants to know why.
"I was really disturbed to learn that this wasn't just an isolated incident. That there are lots of accidents at CSX and fatal ones at that," said Ball.
Workplace accidents claimed the lives of more than a dozen railroad workers last year, according to Federal Railroad Administration records. Several of those killed worked at CSX.
"Working on the tracks is very dangerous. The size of the equipment, you can end up with events like these happening," said Jim Hall, former NTSB cjairman.
The NTSB is currently investigating the incident in Chattanooga.
Hall says his organization prioritized workplace safety and frequently investigated rail yard accidents.
"There's been progress made, but each event reminds us to maintain the focus and make sure that the railroad is walking the walk as well as the employees and having a safe workplace for everyone," said Hall.
CSX declined our request for an interview, but in a statement said the investigation is ongoing.
NTSB officials say the investigation, into Allen's death, could take anywhere from 12-18 months.
Those closest to Allen hope answers surface sooner, so that other's won't meet the same fate as their friend.
"We can't afford to lose good people like Allen Lowe, because he was true gem and we are all just really mourning his loss,"said Ball.
No official funeral arrangements for Allen are set up, but his friends say they will likely take place later this week in Allen’s hometown of Jonesborough, Tennessee.