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Man becomes second train fatality in two days

A man in his mid-to-late-40s died Monday afternoon when he was struck by a westbound Amtrak "San Joaquin" passenger train near Coffee Street and Baker Drive. The mishap, the second in two days, appears to be accidental, authorities said.

Sgt. Paul Roseman of the Merced County Sheriff's Department said the man's identity is being withheld until the coroner's office has notified his next-of-kin.

The man's death follows a similar fatality early Sunday morning on the Union Pacific Railroad tracks at Highway 59 and West 16th Street. In that case the man had his back to the train and did not move. The man was taken to the Community Campus of Mercy Medical Center Merced where he was pronounced dead shortly after the accident.

In Monday's accident, Deputy Aaron Rosenberg said witnesses reported the man was sitting on the railroad tracks and witnesses tried to warn him to move. The man was trying to get up and get out of the way when the Amtrak train struck him.

Merced County firefighters said the man was pronounced dead at the scene of the 4:30 p.m. accident on the BNSF Railway tracks. Amtrak engineers told deputies they hit the train's brakes when the man was observed but could not stop in time.

The man's death appears to be accidental rather than a suicide. He apparently did not hear the train's horn or see it until it was too late, Rosenberg said.

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