The Altamont School district lost a key member and a friend last weekend with the untimely death of high school assistant principal and athletic director Todd Arnold.
Arnold, 53, was killed just after midnight Sunday morning, Jan. 28 when he was struck by a train in Effingham. According to Effingham Police Chief Jeffrey Fuesting, Arnold was crossing the Canadian National Railroad crossing at Jefferson Avenue at approximately 12:23 a.m. when he was struck by a southbound Amtrak train. Arnold was pronounced death at the scene.
Preliminary investigations suggest that the gates and the lights at the crossing were working properly.
Arnold was raised in Watson, IL and was a star athlete at Effingham High School in the late 70s and early 80s, graduating in 1982. He played baseball, basketball and ran cross country. He attending both Fresno State University and Eastern Illinois University.
Todd married Laura (Wortman) Arnold and raised two sons with her, Tyler and Trent.
Arnold was employed by the Altamont School District beginning in 1994. He held various coaching and teaching positions including high school head basketball coach and assistant principal at AGS. Most recently, he was the assistant principal at ACHS and the athletic director, a position he assumed in 2013.
Just hours before his passing, Altamont wrapped up the 83rd annual National Trail Conference Tournament. As the tournament concluded, ACHS principal Jerry Tkachuk had the crowd give a round of applause to Arnold for all the work he did to bring the tournament together each year.
“Mr. Arnold is an integral part to what we do and what we have done in the Altamont school system,” said Altamont superintendent Jeff Fritchtnitch. “Todd has meant so much to our school, our students, our faculty, our community, and our district.”