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Earlham College student from Columbus 'good' after train-pedestrian accident

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Graham Nissen, a 2009 graduate of Columbus East High School, was reported hospitalized in good condition this afternoon after he was among three Earlham College students struck by a train while walking in Richmond, Indiana's Historic Depot District shortly after 1 a.m. today

Nissen is the son of Don and Karen Nissen of Columbus. Don Nissen is director of information management at the Columbus Area Visitors Center on Fifth Street, said Robin Gray, executive assistant at the center.

The communications office at Miami Valley Hospital said Graham Nissen is being cared for in a regular room at the Dayton, Ohio, hospital and is not in intensive care. Earlham College officials said the younger Nissen is a music major at the school.

Richmond Police said the three pedestrians, all Earlham College students, were hit by an eastbound train at the North Eighth and E streets crossing and a woman identified as Therese Heymann, 21, of Burlingame, Calif., died at the scene.

Graham Nissen and another female student — identified as Lenore Edwards — were taken early today by helicopter to Miami Valley Hospital. The Associated Press reported that Edwards was in critical condition earlier today.

Richmond Police Department Capt. Bill Shake said police officers and the Richmond Fire Department were called to the scene at 1:12 a.m. All three victims were on the south side of the train. Shoes, a backpack and a purse were found on the ground in the area.

Shake said he didn’t know how the students came to be hit. Thursday night had been designated College Night in the Depot District, and Earlham had provided shuttle transportation to and from the area, the Associated Press reported.

Earlham spokesman Mark Blackmon said the college has not discussed the future of the event. The train that struck the students weighed 1,948 tons and was headed from Fort Wayne to Cincinnati, said Dave Pidgeon, spokesman for Norfolk Southern Corp. Typical train speeds in the area reach 40 mph, Pidgeon said, but it's unclear how fast this one was going. Two crew members on the train were not injured, the Associated Press said.

This story will be updated for Saturday's Republic.

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