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Motorist dies in train collision, passenger injured

A 39-year-old Manteca motorist died Tuesday morning and his 30-year-old passenger was injured in a crash with a northwest bound Union Pacific freight train at the Walnut Avenue crossing just after 11 a.m.

One witness to the crash told officers that the man was driving southbound on North Walnut Avenue when he gunned his 1998 Ford Expedition and drove around the crossing gates – apparently trying to beat the train.

The impact propelled the vehicle into a nearby pasture where it overturned pinning the two men inside. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene and the passenger was transported to an area hospital. The car came to rest some 100 feet from the impact with the diesel locomotive of a short haul train. Both rear wheels had been knocked off of the vehicle.

The names of the two men are expected to be released on Wednesday after relatives have been notified.