Updated: Man dies on Anza Trail; responders delayed by locked gate

An adult male died Tuesday while walking on the Old Stage Road portion of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Trail system, and responders experienced difficulty gaining access to the emergency due to a locked gate at the entrance.

Authorities responded to a report around 2 p.m. of a man not breathing on the dirt pathway in the rural area of San Benito County near San Juan Bautista. An ambulance was delayed because a locked gate there blocks off all vehicle traffic, but eventually broke through barbed-wire portions of fencing alongside the trail entrance.

It is unclear immediately how long ambulance responders were delayed before gaining access and driving about a half-mile up the trail to the area where the victim was lying on the ground with at least three other people trying to assist him. The ambulance crew performed CPR before halting the efforts at about 2:45 p.m., while the San Benito County Sheriff’s Office also responded to the scene.

Details were not immediately available on the victim or circumstances surrounding his death.

The road is an official part of the Juan Bautista de Anza Trail system that runs from the Mexican border to San Francisco. The four-mile road segment was transformed to a Juan Bautista de Anza Trail portion in early 1999 by blocking off all vehicle traffic and making the road strictly a foot, horse or bike path.

Supervisor Anthony Botelho, who represents that area, expressed concern about the gate access.

“It’s quite a ways away from services and emergency personnel,” he said. “Going forward in the future, we’ve got to make sure we have access up that trail for fire and police.”

In this case, he said, it likely would not have made a difference.

“That’s very, very concerning for me,” Botelho said, “not only for the de Anza Trail, but any other gated community.”

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