An adult male was struck and killed Saturday night by a northbound Union Pacific train at the South Main Street crossing in downtown Manteca.
It marked the second railroad death in Manteca this year.
In January, a 28-year-old man was killed a half mile to the south when he was struck by a train along Moffat Boulevard to the west of the Spreckels Avenue/Industrial Park Drive crossing. In that incident, witnesses said the man who was killed appeared to be sleeping on the tracks.
Saturday’s death happened around 11 p.m. Manteca Police arrived at the scene almost immediately as they were nearby on another call. The man was found in the center median on the north side of the tracks. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Manteca Police said their preliminary investigation indicates that the man walked in front of the train as it was bearing down on the crossing. The train stopped after hitting the man.
Manteca averages two pedestrian railroad deaths a year.
Last year was unusual in that both deaths did not occur between the Center Street and Spreckels Avenue/Moffat Boulevard crossings. While one was in the downtown area, the other was a teen who was trying to beat an Altamont Corridor Express commuter train across a train trestle near the gated Oakwood Shores neighborhood.
Since 2008, the majority of the deaths have been classified as suicides. Following that the next largest number involves a person who was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In those cases they have ended up walking down or across the tracks away from crossings.
Last year Manteca Police Sgt. Lance Casqueiro was credited with pulling a suicidal man off the tracks at the Yosemite Avenue crossing literally seconds before a train would have struck him. About 15 years earlier Manteca Police were also credited with making a similar save.
There are 13 at-grade railroad crossings in Manteca including nine on the Union Pacific’s main north-south route between Austin Road and Airport Way that typically sees frequent, fast moving train traffic.
In an effort to reduce the potential for deaths, Union Pacific has installed fencing from Industrial Park Drive to Center Street. In addition, six years ago the city installed wrought iron fencing on the tracks near the skate park after youth were seen frequently cutting across the tracks to reach the skate park.
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