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Train race: 2 live, 1 dies at Manteca x-ing

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POSTED July 7, 2013 11:40 p.m.



A Manteca man walking home from grocery shopping Saturday night with friends apparently misjudged the speed of two diesel engines coming down the Union Pacific tracks toward him and his two companions as they walked eastward along the sidewalk on the south side of Yosemite Avenue near Library Park.

Manteca Police said the man was killed by the impact.

Jacob Spruitenberg, 26.  was the last of the three to walk past the down railroad gates and across the rails at about 8:30 p.m.  He was hit a glancing blow that threw him into a light standard about 20 feet east of the tracks.  Witnesses covered his body with blankets until the police arrived.

A crowd gathered behind yellow police crime scene tape near the intersection while some took pictures with their iPhones.  As they dispersed a lone bicycle rider rode up into the shadows of the island landscaped with trees located at that intersection.  He remained there for several minutes in silence, finally making the sign of the cross in prayer before he left.

Police Sgt. Paul Carmona confirmed that the trio of friends had been seen walking past the down flashing red crossing gates that had activated to warn both motorists and pedestrians of the oncoming train traffic.

Friends had set up a memorial with flowers at the base of the light standard on Sunday to honor the life lost in the mishap.

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