Oceanside Man Struck By Train Talks To 10News

Thomas Yearsley Survives Incident, Dog Killed

An Oceanside man who survived being struck by a train earlier this week spoke to 10News Wednesday about his brush with death.

With a gash on his head and a leg fracture, Thomas Yearsley still has a sense of humor after being hit by a train on Monday.

"I thought it was a little overboard that they would want to take me in a helicopter when a train was right there," he told 10News.

On Monday night shortly after 8 p.m., Yearsley was taking his dog, Swango, for a walk.

"It's our constitutional walk and we see the sunset," Yearsley said.

Every night, Yearsley said they cross the same train tracks a half block from his home on Wisconsin Street.

Yearsley said, "He [Swango] started to cross the tracks without me."

A train was coming and Yearsley ran out onto the tracks to save his dog.

"They call it glancing blow. I think that would best describe it … I was clipped," said Yearsley.

The next thing he knew, he was being taken away in a helicopter.

"I don't know of how many people survive being hit by a train," said Yearsley's brother, Matt.

"I did get a lot of calls from around the world," said Thomas Yearsley.

Yearsley is internationally known as a musician. He has played string bass in a band named The Paladins for 30 years. But for the past 13 years, his first love was Swango, who did not survive the incident.

"His hips are giving out, he has this terrible infection and he is blind in one eye," said Yearsley.

He said Swango was near the end of his life, but that does not make losing his best friend any easier.

"Swango was one of his best pals ever," said friend Rick Flores.

Yearsley said he will not get another dog, but he will continue his music with a second lease on life.

"The struggle continues," said Yearsley.

Yearsley told 10News a tooth infection was causing Swango to go completely blind, and the dog's hearing was also deteriorating.

He said he had been considering putting Swango down for weeks.