A 29-year-old Winton man died Sunday morning after a train struck his car while he was attempting to go around a crossing safety arm, California Highway Patrol said.
CHP didn’t release the man’s name Sunday pending notification of next of kin.
The man was driving a red 2003 Honda Civic northwest on Santa Fe Drive at about 6:20 a.m. Sunday when he made a left turn on to Shaffer Road into the path of a Burlington Northern Santa Fe freight train, CHP Officer Eric Zuniga said.
Witnesses told investigators that the train crossing’s safety arms were down, Zuniga said. But the driver attempted to drive around the crossing arms.
The train struck the car, causing major damage and instantly killing the driver.
“He was possibly seatbelted,” Zuniga said. “However, the shear magnitude of the impact ejected him out of the vehicle.”
The train split the car in half, Zuniga said, with the back end lying on the south shoulder of Santa Fe Drive, and the other half ending up on the eastbound lane of Santa Fe.
CHP planned to close the intersection for two to three hours while they conducted an investigation.
This story has been changed from a previous reported statement from Atwater police claiming two people died in the collision.
Vikaas Shanker: 209-826-3831, ext. 6562