Couldn't be saved in time

The family of a wheelchair-bound man killed by a train Saturday is demanding changes be made to railway crossings to make them safer.

On Saturday afternoon, 40-year-old Matthew Jarvis left his Chilliwack home in his motorized chair to make a brief trip to a nearby 7-Eleven for a slushie. He had made the trip many times, one which involves crossing railway tracks three blocks from his house.

This time, though, his wheels got stuck in the tracks, his partner Valerie Schneider told CTV News. Two female witnesses attempted to help free him but were forced to leap to safety when an oncoming train approached. One of the women was hit on her arm, and had to be taken to hospital.

Jarvis, who is a father of three, died at the scene. 

"Some angels of God tried to help him," Schneider said. "And whoever you are, I thank you. My family thanks you from the bottom of our hearts."

Jarvis had been in the wheelchair since January of 2017 when a car crash fractured his vertebrae. He had hoped to recuperate and walk again one day.

Schneider said that while she is still reeling from the sudden loss, she knows for sure she will be advocating for safety measures at railway crossings so that nothing like this happens again.

"I'm not going to stop until there's change," she said. "Nobody should die like this."

She suggested sensors or cameras to notify conductors earlier when people are on the tracks, in order to allow them more time to make a stop. 

Police from CN railways are working with the RCMP on an investigation.

-With files from CTV Vancouver

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