MU community reflects on sophomore’s death
Published: Friday, November 1, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 15:12
Credit: Bethany Miller
Saturday morning, Miami University sophomore Jacob Jarman was found dead on the railroad tracks between South Main Street and College Avenue. As news of Jarman’s passing spreads across campus, friends and school officials express their sorrow.
This was Jarman’s first semester at Miami, having transferred from the University of Colorado. He is again in his home state, with his parents and friends. According to Jarman’s former roommate, first-year Aaron Kahle, many of Jarman’s friends at Miami also hail from Colorado, though he had a presence in many circles.
“He was a good guy,” Kahle said. “He had a very close group of friends. I think a lot of his friends are from Colorado, [but] he had a really tight friend group here.”
Miami officials expressed their sadness in the wake of Jarman’s passing.
“We are deeply saddened by the untimely passing of a member of our community,” Associate Dean of Students Gwen Fears said. “Although he was not with us long, he enhanced our community and he will be remembered. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Jake’s family and many loved ones.”
In a tweet, President Hodge echoed the sentiments of the Miami community.
“Our hearts go out to the family in their grief,” he said.
Jarman graduated from Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, Colo., where he played football.
“Please join the entire community of Regis Jesuit in praying for the Jarman family and all who knew and loved Jake during this time of loss,” a statement on the school’s website read.
The school’s statement went on to announce they had established a fund in Jarman’s memory.
Miami students continue react to his untimely passing.
“I think Jake would like to be remembered as a great friend; someone who always wanted to have a good time,” Kahle said. “I don’t think he treated anyone poorly. He was a good guy to everyone he met. He lived a very chill life. He just wanted everyone to be happy.”
Kahle said his experience with resident assistants, Oxford Police and administration has been overwhelmingly positive in this unsettling time.
“I’ve heard alumni say how proud they are to be from Miami because of finding out how helpful Miami’s been to the family, the roommate, the suitemates, the friends,” Kahle said. “They’ve been more than helpful for everyone.”
Kahle said Jarman’s absence makes him wish they had been closer.
“From what I’ve seen on Facebook and everything—everyone posting on his wall—he affected a lot of people’s lives,” Kahle said. “He had a very infectious smile.”
Kahle said it still bothers him to think Jarman was alone near the tracks so early Saturday morning.
“I would ask him what he was doing and why he was alone, because I’m sure he had plenty of friends that would have loved to go with him,” Kahle said.
Jarman was not the first Miami student to be found dead on the Oxford train tracks.
“We’ve had several [incidents of people hit by trains] over the years,” OPD Sergeant Jon Varley said. “Over the past, say, eight years, including this incident and one just outside the city, there’ve been five people hit. Four out of these five were students.”
The tracks are the property of freighter train company CSX and, according to the Federal Railroad Administration Office of Safety Analysis, Ohio has the second highest rate of trespasser fatalities on CSX rail in the nation Seven people died in Ohio in 2012 alone.
CSX Railroad System Production Team Mechanic John Theodore, who has worked for CSX for 12 years, said people often underestimate the danger of moving trains.
“They are on top of you faster than they think,” Theodore said. “Because of this, the railroad is strict on trespassing on the tracks. Bear in mind it takes a train almost two miles to stop.”
Theodore emphasized that one should never consider going near railroad tracks, unless in a vehicle, a safe distance away, at a marked crossing.
“Here is the thing, a train doesn’t blow its whistle until a certain amount of feet from the crossing,” Theodore said. “If he is going down the track and there is no crossing, no gated crossing, the engineer doesn’t have to blow the whistle. He could have been on the track, had no idea, because there was no whistle.”