A 58-year-old Hammond man with hearing difficulties died after stepping in front of a train passing through the downtown area Tuesday afternoon.

Ernest Watts “could hardly speak and could barely hear, from what we understand,” and he didn’t respond to bystanders who shouted to warn him of the train, said Lt. Vince Giannobile, spokesman for the Hammond Police Department.

Watts walked between the lowered crossbars of the East Coleman Avenue crossing along U.S. 51, or Southwest Railroad Avenue, and was struck around 4 p.m., Giannobile said.

He was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital, Giannobile said.