– A Latino man believed to be in his 30s was killed Tuesday
afternoon as he sat on the railroad tracks in San Martin. The
identity of the man and two others – who managed to scramble to
safety – at the accident scene were not available by press time
San Martin – A Latino man believed to be in his 30s was killed Tuesday afternoon as he sat on the railroad tracks in San Martin. The identity of the man and two others – who managed to scramble to safety – at the accident scene were not available by press time Tuesday night.
The accident scene was cleared before southbound commuter trains passed.
A Union Pacific freight train crew reported at 12:39pm that at least one person had been struck and likely killed by the train. The train’s conductor, who declined to give his name, said the crew noticed what looked like piles of black plastic on or near the tracks.
“We sounded the horn, we always honk, even if it’s an inanimate object,” the conductor said at the accident scene immediately behind Farm Fresh Produce. “As we got closer, we could tell there were three people, and it looked like they had been lying on the tracks covering themselves. At least we were able to save two lives today.”
The conductor, who said he had never been on a train when a fatality occurred, said one of the three men ran from the scene, while a second man “just sort of rolled down the embankment. We weren’t sure whether he was injured or not at first,” he said.
An empty bottle of King Cobra malt liquor was found at the scene of the accident, along with a portable radio.
The man appeared to make no attempt to clear the tracks as the train approached, the conductor said.
“He just seemed to lean over, to hug the tracks,” he said.
A Santa Clara County Coroner’s Office representative said Tuesday night the dead man had not been positively identified and no next of kin had been notified.
The exact cause of death has not been determined.
The southbound freight train was traveling at 47 mph when the accident occurred, said Union Pacific spokesman John Bowley. The body was lying along the tracks at the rear of the 3,000-foot-long train.
Deputy Terrance Helm, public information officer for the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, confirmed the basic facts but said Tuesday the investigation is in its early stages.
“At this time, the accident is still under investigation,” Helm said. “The Union Pacific police will be conducting a thorough investigation. Sheriff’s Office deputies were the initial responders, and we will be working with them to assist them in any way we can.”
The man who fled the scene of the accident, Helm said, was already gone by the time deputies arrived. The man who rolled away from the train but did not flee the scene was “shaken,” Helm said, and officials were awaiting a translator before taking a statement from him. The man did not appear to be seriously hurt.
One of the California Department of Forestry firefighters at the scene said deputies and paramedics had to search for the man who fled.
UP’s Bowley said a railroad representative arrested one of the men and local authorities arrested the second. He did not list the charges.
California Highway Patrol officers, two ambulances, paramedics and firefighters from CDF and Santa Clara County Fire Department were at the scene. A CALSTAR helicopter en route was canceled.