10-year-old area boy dies in train accident
Students and faculty at Glenwood Ridge Elementary School are trying to "maintain normalcy as much as possible" this week as they cope with the death of a fourth-grade student.
At 3:05 p.m. Saturday, a Union Pacific train struck and killed Troy Joseph Chilson, 10, who lived in Basehor and Bonner Springs. The accident occurred near Front Street and Loring Drive in Bonner Springs.
According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, T.J., as he was known, and his brother, Steven Shaul, 16, Bonner Springs, were pushing a motorcycle west on the railroad tracks. While they were crossing a bridge, they heard a train approaching in their direction.
The two boys started running with the motorcycle but could not outrun the train, which officials said takes nearly half a mile before it can come to a complete stop.
The train struck T.J. and he suffered fatal injuries. Steven escaped with possible injuries, according to the accident report, but he was not transported to a hospital.
Glenwood Ridge Elementary School principal Linda McFarlane sent a letter home to parents this week informing them of the boy's death. In the letter, McFarlane said the school district's crisis management team suggested Glenwood Ridge faculty maintain the school's normal schedule and activities.
In her letter, McFarlane offered condolences to T.J.'s family.
"Our heartfelt sympathy is sent to T.J.'s mother, Diane Phillips, and father, Joe Chilson, and to T.J.'s brothers and sisters. They are in our thoughts and prayers."
T.J.'s sister, Josie, is a kindergartner at Glenwood Ridge.
Three grief counselors were brought to the school this week to help students and faculty. School district officials said the counselors would be available as long as needed.
Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Friday, May 21, 2004, at Bonner Springs Baptist Church, Kansas Highway 32 and Bluegrass Drive, with burial to follow in the Bonner Springs Cemetery.
Friends may call from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at Alden-Harrington Funeral Home in Bonner Springs.
Survivors include his mother, Diane Phillips, and her husband John of Bonner Springs; T.J.'s father, Joe Chilson and his wife, Michelle, of rural Bonner Springs; a brother, Steve Shaul; and sisters Nina Davis, Emily Thomas, Josie Chilson and JulieAna Phillips, all of Bonner Springs; his maternal grandparents, Joye and John Davis of Linwood and Mike and Jackie Chilson of California; and his paternal great-grandmothers, Treva Hinds and Maxine Chilson, both of Kansas City, Kan.
The family suggests memorial contributions to the T.J. Chilson Memorial Fund, sent in care of Commercial State Bank, 309 Oak Street, Bonner Springs.