Winona State University student killed by passing train

A Winona State University student was struck and killed by a train early Sunday around 1:30 a.m., just before the start of a new semester. The university identified the student as Derek Bute, 25, from Alden, Minn. who started at WSU in fall 2012 and was majoring in exercise science.

Bute was crossing the tracks on Huff Street when an eastbound Canadian Pacific train hit him. According to the rail company, the engineer used his horn to alert Bute but was unable to stop in time. Officials point out that it can take one mile or more for a train to come to a complete stop.

Bute was transported by rescue crews via ambulance to Winona Health, where he was pronounced dead.

“Derek was a valued member of our community of learners,” said Denise McDowell, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Life.

“As we come together for the spring semester, I ask that you keep Derek and his family and friends in your thoughts, and I encourage you to reach out to those who may be in pain and support one another during this difficult time,” the university said.