Sparta football coach dead after being struck by train in Bellev -

Sparta football coach dead after being struck by train in Belleville

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By KMOV Web Producer By KMOV Web Producer

(KMOV) -- A local high school football coach is dead after being struck by a train in Belleville at North Illinois Street and Douglas Avenue on Monday afternoon just before 1 p.m.

Authorities said Phillip Watson, 50, of Sparta, lay himself down on the tracks in front of the train engine.

Teachers and students at the high school where Watson coached are struggling with the news of his death.

The superintendent says that the circumstances of Watson’s death are a mystery to him.

Monday night’s sophomore football game was cancelled. However, football players and teachers gathered at the high school anyway to be together.

Coach Watson was in his second year as head coach at Sparta High School.

Belleville police say Watson was reported missing and possibly suicidal on Sunday.

A crisis team from both Monroe and Randolph counties will be at the high school first thing Tuesday morning to be available for counseling.

The high school principal says that teachers are meeting at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, and will each get a letter to read to students in their first period class.

The superintendent added that the district’s thoughts and prayers are with Coach Watson’s family.

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