USC student jumps on train, dies

<p>From "The State"</p>

<p>USC student jumps on train, dies
Junior, 3 frat brothers couldn’t get off perch between cars after it picked up speed
By LEE HIGGINS and JAMES T. HAMMOND - <a href="mailto:lhiggins@thestate.com">lhiggins@thestate.com</a> <a href="mailto:jhammond@thestate.com">jhammond@thestate.com</a></p>

<p>A USC sophomore died Wednesday after he and three fraternity brothers climbed onto a train for fun and he fell under a rail car, authorities said.</p>

<p>Robert Chase Campbell, 20, of Anderson, was identified in part through his driver’s license, which was with his body, Newberry County Deputy Coroner Tommy Hedgepath said. An autopsy is scheduled for this morning, and toxicology results are pending, he said.</p>

<p>Campbell, a member of Sigma Nu fraternity who was majoring in advertising, fell from the train in Newberry County between Little Mountain and Prosperity around 6:15 a.m., authorities said.</p>

<p>A fraternity chaplain stopped by his family’s Anderson home Wednesday.</p>

<p>Campbell’s mother, Jenny Campbell, struggled to talk about him on the phone, saying she was “kind of numb.”</p>

<p>“He was a very sweet and caring child,” she said. “He was a great son.”</p>

<p>Campbell, the youngest of three brothers, was a 2006 graduate of West Side High School in Anderson, where he played on the junior varsity baseball and basketball teams.</p>

<p>Last spring, Campbell made the dean’s list at USC and had been thinking about pursuing a career in commercial real estate.</p>

<p>He and some fraternity brothers planned to rent a house in Charleston this summer, said Dustin Campbell, his 28-year-old brother.</p>

<p>“He just loved life,” Campbell said. “I was happy for him that he was happy, just getting out of the house, just getting to be a man, just starting to learn life.”</p>

<p>Robert Campbell and three fraternity brothers apparently boarded a CSX freight train between 4 and 5 a.m. Wednesday.</p>

<p>A friend of theirs had jumped on a train before, and they decided it might be fun, Newberry County sheriff’s Maj. Todd Johnson said.</p>

<p>The train had been sitting still on the tracks near the university’s Greek Village south of Blossom Street, authorities said.</p>

<p>USC spokesman Russ McKinney said the train started moving, and the young men were unable to get off.</p>

<p>They were standing between rail cars, hanging on to the exterior of the train, Johnson said.</p>

<p>The train picked up speed, and deputies suspect the cold weather made it difficult for Campbell to hang on, Johnson said.</p>

<p>Campbell clung to the train about 35 miles before falling, authorities said.</p>

<p>Another train traveling the same direction spotted his body about 9:30 a.m., Hedgepath said.</p>

<p>Campbell was found about two-tenths of a mile from Mid-Carolina High School on S.C. 76 between the towns of Prosperity and Little Mountain.</p>

<p>The survivors traveled about 65 miles before the train slowed enough in Clinton for them to get off. They called friends to pick them up and rode around looking for Campbell along the tracks, but could not find him, deputies said.</p>

<p>“They hoped they would find him walking, trying to get back to the university,” Johnson said.</p>

<p>Deputies will not release the names of the other three students until the investigation is completed, Johnson said.</p>

<p>“It doesn’t appear like there will be any charges filed at this point,” he said.</p>

<p>Dustin Campbell said he and his little brother did almost everything together, including fishing for catfish at Lake Hartwell.</p>

<p>Robert Campbell applied only to USC and made up his mind pretty quickly that he wanted to pledge Sigma Nu, following in Dustin’s footsteps.</p>

<p>Dustin Campbell said he hung out with his brother during the St. Pat’s in Five Points festival. They went to many Gamecocks football games together.</p>

<p>“It’s just a complete shock,” he said. “It’s just terrible. I can’t really describe how much I miss him already.”</p>

<p>Several Sigma Nu fraternity brothers stood in front of the fraternity house Wednesday and declined to comment.</p>

<p>USC senior Jay Laura, 21, former student body president and former president of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, has heard of students jumping ontotrains before. He said he was sorry to hear about the death, particularly in the wake of other tragic student deaths this school year.</p>

<p>Laura cited the deaths of seven college students — six from USC and one from Clemson — in a North Carolina beach house fire last fall.</p>

<p>“I feel for (Campbell’s) family, his fraternity brothers and his friends, and it’s just a sad situation,” Laura said. “It’s just hard to hear that we’ve lost another member of our community in the same year we’ve already had to deal with so much.”</p>