Chappaqua man struck and killed by train revealed to be beloved local author and teacher

 December 15, 2023

It has now been revealed that a man who was struck and killed by a train last week in Chappaqua, New York, was a beloved local author, according to Chappaqua's Daily Voice.

Following the fatal incident at the Chappaqua train station on Dec. 8, the victim was identified as resident David Burr Gerrard, 42, who had authored two critically acclaimed novels and was a creative writing teacher.

Struck and killed by a train

On Dec. 8, the Westchester Journal News reported that service on the Harlem line of the Metro-North railroad was temporarily disrupted after a person was hit and killed by a train while on the tracks.

The incident happened around 9 am and caused a 10-15 minute delay in the trains that ran on that line that lasted until shortly before noon when full and on-time service was finally restored.

Police opened an investigation into what had occurred and just one day later, according to Patch, identified the victim as Gerrard.

The outlet noted that Gerrard's death was the second fatality involving a person hit by a train in less than one week in Westchester County, as just days earlier a reported trespasser on the Metro-North tracks had been struck and killed by a train at the Port Chester station.

That news was confirmed on Sunday when Gerrard's "heartbroken" wife, Grace Bello, took to her late husband's X account to share a link to his obituary and wrote, "We will miss him dearly and remember him always."

Fiction author and creative writing teacher

According to Gerrard's obituary, he was born in Queens, New York in 1981 but grew up in Chappaqua and graduated from Columbia College before obtaining a master's degree from Columbia University School of the Arts.

He had successfully published two novels -- "Short Century" and "The Epiphany Machine" -- and also taught creative writing courses at several different institutions. In his work, Gerrard "displayed a fierce commitment to justice, empathy, and honesty" and in his teaching, he "imparted his craft and love of literature to hundreds of emerging authors."

Gerrard was a "beloved husband, father, son, brother, and friend. He was known for his kindness, humor, creativity, and passion for writing and film. His exceptional intelligence and talent, as well as his fellowship with other writers, made an indelible mark on the literary community."

"Beyond his professional accomplishments," the obituary added, "he was a source of strength and love in his family. He was a devoted husband and father, heavily involved in his daughter's extracurricular activities and education, and a constant source of love and inspiration to his brother."

Gerrard is survived by his parents, Michael and Barbara, his brother William, his wife Grace Bello, and their young daughter Amelia Bello-Gerrard.

Details of the incident investigation have not yet been released

The Daily Voice reported that Gerrard was laid to rest in a funeral service on Tuesday that followed a Monday evening memorial service for the beloved local author and teacher.

The outlet further noted that the investigation into the circumstances of his death on the tracks at the train station remained ongoing.

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