Man killed by freight train in Carlsbad

CARLSBAD, Calif. - A 22-year-old man was hit and killed while crossing a railroad tracks in Carlsbad late Thursday night.

According to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, the man was struck by a northbound Burlington Northern Santa Fe train at about 11:20 p.m. near the intersection of Grand Avenue and State Street.

One witness told 10News that the man had left a nearby bar with his sister and had ducked under the railroad crossing arm as the train was coming. The two were out celebrating his sister's birthday, 10News learned.

"She stopped, he decided to cross underneath the cross-bar before the train came," Jeff Clarke told 10News. "And then when she stopped, he doubled back ... We heard this thud and the next thing you know everyone is freaking out and running down to see what's going on."

Gustavo de la Cruz, a taxi driver who saw the impact, said, "All of a sudden, I turned and I just saw this hit, like somebody hit a potato sack."

He ran over to help, but saw a shoe on one side of the track, and then the body and quickly realized there was nothing he could do.

"I probably looked about five seconds ... and then I'm like, 'I can't see this anymore,'" de la Cruz added.

Carlsbad resident Wyatt Vandriessche thinks the concentration of bars surrounding the tracks may have played a part.

"I'd say probably every other month we hear someone getting killed," Vandriessche said. "It's crazy. I don't understand it. It feels like they should build something right here so people don't do it."

The grade crossing warning system was functioning properly at the time of the crash, the sheriff's department said.

A 10News crew noticed the safety arms go down in front of cars. They block pedestrian traffic on one side of the tracks, but not the other, which means there's no barricade between people and trains.

One year ago, a man was seriously hurt by a train in the same spot. Two months before that, someone was thrown 20 feet but survived. A year before and about a block away, a woman's body was dismembered by a train.

"It's some mother's child right now that's gone, and some sister's brother ... you know, out for a good time," Clarke said. "It's just a real sad state of affairs."

An investigation has been launched. The victim was not immediately identified.

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