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Train strikes, kills homeless man on tracks
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A 28-year-old Manteca homeless man died after being struck by a train on the Union Pacific tracks between Powers Avenue and the BMX course.

Train crews saw the man lying across the tracks but weren’t able to stop in time. After being struck at 11:45 p.m. Saturday, the man was taken to San Joaquin General Hospital where he died from his injuries.

Manteca Police Sgt. Steve Schluer said the train crew indicated the man appeared to be asleep as they approached. The second they saw the man they activated their emergency braking system but were unable to stop the 54-car freight pulled by three engines that was enroute to Lathrop. The man was located under the train between the rails half way down the length of the line of cars and had not been run over by its wheels, police noted.

Police said the man was a known resident of Manteca; however his name will not be released until his relatives are notified.

It was the second time in just over a year that someone has been struck and killed by a train after laying across tracks in Central Manteca. The previous incident was closer to the Main Street crossing.

Over the years there have been a number of people killed. In those instances people seemed oblivious to the train and may have had their ears covered, several had been reported to be suicidal and others believed to have been under the influence.

Vehicle versus train incidents at the 10 at-grade crossings in Manteca have been less frequent and haven’t always been fatal.

The City of Manteca was the first to put fencing up along the tracks to prevent kids from crossing where they shouldn’t. The wrought iron fence between the skate park fencing and Center Street was added after kids started cutting across the tracks to reach a vacant lot to ride their BMX bicycles. 

The railroad added fencing from Center Street to Yosemite, Yosemite to Main, Main to Industrial Park Drive, and just recently extended it a ways south of Industrial Park Drive.

The railroad also works with Manteca Police in periodical enforcement and educational efforts targeting people who drive or walk around signal crossing arms when they are down and flashing.

The incident Saturday happened in an area where Union Pacific had placed fencing to keep people from trespassing and crossing the railroad access. In order to reach the tracks where the man was hit you’d either have to scale the fence or walk around it at Industrial Park Drive and Main Street.

The Union Pacific Railroad Police also responded to the scene of Saturday’s indicdent and took over the investigation.

Railroad crossings near the scene were closed for about an hour following the incident, blocking roadway traffic. 


To contact Glenn Kahl, email