Wednesday, August 15 , 2018, 8:58 am | Mostly Cloudy 68º


Local News

SBCC Student Hit By Train as Schoolchildren Look On

Witnesses tell police that the victim walked into the path of the train

A 23-year-old SBCC student was struck and killed Wednesday evening by an Amtrak passenger train near 200 State St. in Santa Barbara.

Police say many people, including about 150 elementary school students from Santa Maria and their teachers and parents waiting at the train station, witnessed the collision and the aftermath, according to Lt. Paul McCaffrey, a spokesman for the Santa Barbara Police Department.

Emergency rescue personnel and police responded to the scene about 5:25 p.m. Officers contacted numerous witnesses, including the engineer operating the train.

The Amtrak train was traveling northbound from Los Angeles to San Luis Obispo at an estimated 35 to 40 mph. As it approached State Street, the traffic control arms were down, the warning lights were flashing and the bells were sounding, according to police.

Witnesses reported that the victim, headed northbound on State Street on the west side of the street, walked around the warning control arms and into the path of the approaching train. The victim’s head was turned to the left, toward the station and not toward the train. The engineer sounded the horn and activated the emergency brake.

The schoolchildren, who believed the horn was being sounded for them, began to cheer and clap, McCaffrey said. At the last moment, the victim, who by then was between the rails, looked to the right and directly at the train as it struck him. The impact knocked him down and dragged him beneath the cars. He came to rest beneath a passenger car, right in front of the children standing on the platform.

McCaffrey said many children became physically upset and were crying and hyperventilating. Cases of water were provided, and buses were brought in to transport the children to Santa Maria.

Identification found in the victim’s pocket indicated he lived in a local hotel.

The Santa Barbara County sheriff’s coroner took custody of the body and will confirm the victim’s identity and determine whether he was impaired.

Noozhawk managing editor Michelle Nelson can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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