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Man chose a risky lifestyle

A 22-year-old Snyderville Basin man who had chosen to live the life of a traveler by hitching rides on trains died in July after he fell from a freight train in Nevada.

Jordan Thomas Reese had boarded the rail car in Ogden and was headed to Portland, Ore., when the accident occurred about 50 miles west of Elko, Nev.

"We were notified by the railroad company that they had located the deceased along the railroad tracks At this point it would appear that he was riding the train and had fallen on to the tracks," said Richard Matheus, a deputy with the Eureka County Sheriff’s Office. "But until we obtain the coroner’s report from the autopsy we can’t confirm or deny that."

It appeared Reese was struck by the train, Matheus said. The Washoe County Coroner’s Office is working to determine the exact cause of death.

"I’ve been doing this for over 20 years and I am aware that people travel on the rails. It is illegal and it is very dangerous, but it happens and very often they get injured as a result," Matheus said. "In these kinds of cases our primary goal is to determine whether it was an accident or something else. And right now we’re still attempting to determine that."

Jordan’s father, Snyderville Basin resident Martin Reese said the friend his son was traveling with did not see Jordan fall from the train. The accident happened when he was asleep.

"Jordan was with a group of people who he traveled with regularly," Reese said. "The weather was good so they got on just a flatcar. They were bedding down for the night. He lied down in one spot and the group spread over the flatcar."

The floor of the rail car contained grating, he explained. It was night when Reese’s fellow travelers realized he had fallen from the train.

"His dog was there. His backpack was there. But there was a failure in the grating system," Reese said. "It’s pretty tragic."

Jordan had been a resident of the Park City area since 2000. He attended Carden Christian Academy and Park City High School.

Reese said his son had a taste for adventure.

"They were Jack Kerouac-types," he said about Jordan’s risky lifestyle. "Guys he traveled with, they had rules they would follow if they were going to ride. You never got on or off a moving train."

"Jordan had told me that this was his last ride as he left to go visit his ailing grandfather in Portland. We were to meet up with him in a couple of weeks and he had planned to return to Utah and enroll in college this fall," Reese added.

His son was a musician with a flair for songwriting who sometimes hitchhiked while traveling, he said.

"His way of travel, it never made any of us comfortable," Martin Reese said.


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