WINK News Exclusive: sitting down with wife of a dementia patient hit by a train

Reporter: Taylor Wirtz Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

A man with dementia wanders off and gets hit by a train sending him to the hospital. 

The incident happened Friday night along MLK Boulevard and Evans Avenue.

WINK News exclusively sat down with he man’s wife to learn how he’s doing. Debra Smith has been married to her husband, Clifton, for 33 years. 

Clifton suffers from Dementia, but that doesn’t stop him from remembering his lovely wife, even if he doesn’t always remember her name. 

“I say, who am I? He looks then he’ll hesitate then he’ll smile and say, “Debbie.” I say yeah baby, I’m Deb, I’m your wife,” Debra said.

So when Debra returned from choir practice Friday night and Clifton wasn’t home, she knew something was wrong. 

“I got really scared and nervous. And I told my granddaughter, you call the police right now,” Debra said. 

Fort Myers Police found Clifton, but not in the way they hoped to. They told Debra he had been hit by a train at the intersection of MLK Blvd. and Evans Ave.

“I lost it. I was crying,” Debra said.

Clifton was taken to Gulf Coast Medical Center where he had both his legs amputated above the knee. 

“I couldn’t take it…to see him like that. He always been an active person,” Debra said. 

While processing all of this, Debra said she has more questions than answers. 

“Nobody telling me how he feel, if he fell, or what. I don’t know. I’m trying to deal with it but I don’t know, I just need answers. Was he standing, falling, or whatever? So I can have some peace of mind,” Debra said.

But she remains grateful that her husband is still here. 

“It’s gonna be slow process. But he’s alive. That’s all that matters to me,” Debra said. 

WINK News made contact with someone from the Seminole Gulf Railway Police. He said the agency is still working with Fort Myers Police to investigate the incident and said it has reached out to the Smith family, offering sincere condolences. 

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