Reporting Reg Chapman
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Train-hopping was something he had done before, but Thursday night Christopher Hanson jumped off a moving train for the last time.
Hanson died before 10:15 p.m., when a railroad worker told police he found the Hanson’s body near 14th Avenue NE and Fillmore Street in Minneapolis. Hanson was 15-years-old and a sophomore at Columbia Heights High School. His family is asking other teens not to train-hop.
“You may think it’s cool at the time,” Hanson’s sister, Mariah, said. “But when your family loses you, it’s not cool.”
According to Hanson’s family, train-hopping is where you jump on a train when it’s moving slowly and then jump off once it gains speed. Hanson enjoyed the thrill it gave, but it frightened his family.
The night before Hanson died, his mother, Melissa Standal, said she talked to her son and his friends about train-hopping and how dangerous it was.
“The next day, he died doing it,” she said.
Standal said her son was a people-pleaser and was likely showing-off when he died.
Two of Hanson’s friends were train-hopping with Hanson the night of his death. They were able to jump to safety, Hanson was not.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled that Hanson died of multiple blunt force craniocerebral injuries. The incident happened about 225 feet from a railroad marker.
One of Hanson’s friends told Standal that Hanson went missing after hopping.
Standal hopes young people see what happened to her son and stop train-hopping.
“The consequences are too great,” she said. “They’re not toys, they move fast.”
Hanson’s parents told his friends they could honor Christopher by never train-hopping again.
A fund has been set up to help the Hanson family. You can donate to the family by contacting any Wells Fargo bank.