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Local man struck and killed by train

Same location as a previous suicide

POSTED February 12, 2010 10:22 p.m.
For the second time in a two-month span, a Turlock resident has lost their life on a stretch of railroad tracks.
The latest tragedy occurred Wednesday morning when a man ran out onto the tracks and was struck and killed by an oncoming freight train.
The identity of the 30 year-old Turlock man has yet to be released by the Stanislaus County Coroner’s Office because they are still trying to reach his next of kin.
According to the police report, at about 9 a.m., the man ran out onto the tracks near Golden State Boulevard and Front Street, south of Fulkerth Road, as a train was approaching. Witnesses told police the man was running in a southerly direction as the train, which was pulling five cars, continued southbound.
Turlock Police Sgt. Nino Amirfar said the train conductor blew the horn and activated the emergency brakes, but at a speed of about 50 mph, a collision was unavoidable.
The impact knocked the man clear of the tracks and he was rushed by ambulance to a local hospital, where he died from his injuries, Amirfar said.
The site of Wednesday’s death was about the same location where a woman committed suicide in December 2009, by laying down on the tracks as a train approached.
For decades suicides by train has been seen by the rail industry as a tragedy, but one that is largely unpreventable. But now, the Federal Railroad Administration is hoping a new study will give them some direction on preventing such acts.
Started in 2007 and funded by the Federal Railroad Administration and the Federal Transportation Administration, the Rail Suicide Prevention Project study is being conducted by the American Association of Suicidology. The study is due to be published next year, but some preliminary results have been released. For the first time, the AAS is documenting the prevalence of suicides on railroads, which preliminary reports indicate is around 300 to 500 deaths per years, and is studying if measures like fences and other barriers decrease the frequency of suicides by train.
Through the study, the AAS also hopes to identify “hot spots” where fatalities occur with more frequency than others and patterns regarding time of day and the physical features of the sites.
To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail sstafford@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.

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