Dirt bike rider hit, killed by train in Washington County was fleeing from police, investigators say

CHARLEROI, Pa. — A Charleroi man died after his dirt bike collided with a Norfolk Southern Train Tuesday afternoon. The Washington County Coroner identified the victim as 36-year-old James Gaito. Investigators say Gaito was trying to get away from police after a reported domestic violence incident.

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A doctor from the Crossroads Clinic in Charleroi reached out to police after Gaito brought his wife in for injuries. Police believe she was the victim of repeated domestic violence that lasted over the holiday weekend.

Charleroi Police arrived at the clinic and Gaito reportedly walked out, jumping on his bike and taking off. Officers followed and a short chase began, which ended only minutes later when Gaito’s dirt bike side swiped the train.

A longtime friend of the family tells Channel 11, despite the circumstances leading up to his death, Gaito was a good father and son.

“I want to send my love and prayers to his family and kids. Just know that JW won’t be forgotten by myself or his family,” said Michelle Hoberek.

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Hoberek says the death is shocking.

“The family asked that everyone respect their wishes and give them time to grieve over their loss.”

We reached out to the Domestic Violence Services of Southwestern PA. They have a hotline available 24/7, for victims or anyone with questions.

You can call 800-791-4000. All callers can remain anonymous and all services are free.

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