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February 25, 2005

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Publication Date: Friday, February 25, 2005

Teacher's death deemed an accident Teacher's death deemed an accident (February 25, 2005)

The Santa Clara County Coroner's Office recently confirmed what Matthew Heroux's family's has known for months: the popular Los Altos science teacher's death on the train tracks last December was a horrific accident.

Initial reports had called the Dec. 12 death a suicide, but friends and family said they knew the 31-year-old expecting father would never take his own life.

Heroux taught science at Egan Junior High in Los Altos. The night he was killed, he had been running down the tracks, trying to catch the southbound train from Palo Alto to San Jose so that he could pick his wife up at the airport. Authorities suspect Heroux tripped and hit his head on the rails.

The conductor of a southbound train heading toward the Palo Alto station had reported seeing a man laying across the tracks shortly after 7 p.m. on Dec. 12. A Caltrain spokesperson said the conductor blared his horn and hit the emergency brakes, but the man never got off the tracks. Caltrain reported nine deaths on the tracks last year.

Heroux's wife, Theresa, a special-needs teacher in San Jose, is expecting the couple's first baby, a girl, in May.

In addition to his wife, Heroux, a Michigan native, is survived by his parents, Marie and Richard; brothers, Chris and Brett; sisters-in-law, Natalie and Shirley Heroux; and niece and nephews, Nika, Alec and Josh Heroux. -- Julie O'Shea

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