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Batavia man killed by freight train identified

Investigation into death continues; celebration of life scheduled for July 11

GENEVA – The man struck and killed by a Union Pacific train July 5 was identified as Charles Grimse, 24, of the 1100 block of Thelin Court, Batavia, according to the Kane County Coroner’s Office.

The identification was released after an autopsy July 8.

Grimse died as a result of injuries he received after being hit by a westbound UP freight train, just west of the Randall Road Bridge, according to a news release from Geneva officials.

Grimse was unresponsive and not breathing. Emergency medical services were provided, but responders could not revive him.

According to a preliminary investigation, Grimse was walking west along the wooden railroad ties on the outside of the railroad tracks. Grimse was on the southernmost side of the tracks with an eastbound freight train on the northernmost tracks, the release stated.

A second freight train was headed west on the southernmost tracks and continuously sounded the air horn and immediately applied the emergency stop brakes, the release stated.

Witness accounts indicate Grimse did not turn around to make visual contact with the westbound train as his attention was focused on the eastbound train, the release stated.

The stopped train caused Western Avenue to be closed for more than five hours during the investigation.

The accident remains under investigation by Geneva police and the Kane County Coroner’s Office.

According to his obituary on the Moss Family Funeral Homes website,, Grimse was a graduate of Batavia High School, Waubonsee Community College and attended Millikin University and Columbia College.

“His love for books and sound began as a baby. Charles loved books and would sit and look through board book after board book and was able to read by age 4,” the obituary stated. “One astute middle school teacher called him a ‘Renaissance man with an attitude.’ ”

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Batavia Public Library.

Friends are invited to a celebration of his life at 6 p.m. July 11 at Riverview Banquets, 1117 N. Washington Ave., Batavia, on what would have been Grimes’ 25th birthday. Gathering is at 6 p.m., with a short program at 6:30 p.m. and reception to follow.

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