57-year-old man killed after being struck by Amtrak train in Merced

A 57-year-old man was struck and killed Thursday morning by an Amtrak train, Merced police reported.

The man died shortly before 10:30 a.m. near West North Bear Creek Drive, between Pira Drive and Creekside Drive. The victim's name hasn't been released, pending notification of his family.

Police are reporting the death as a suicide. Witnesses told police the man was walking on the side of the train tracks, when the northbound train approached. He then walked onto the tracks, directly in the path of the train and crouched, according to Lt. Matt Williams.

The conductor saw the man and blew the train's horn. The man stayed on the tracks and was killed instantly. The train stopped and police arrived at the scene within minutes.

The man is the third person killed by a train in Merced County in less than a month.

California ranked first in 2010 for pedestrian railroad trespassing fatalities, with 66 deaths reported in the state. There were 451 deaths nationwide, according to Federal Railroad Administration statistics.

For more information, go to Operation Lifesaver's website, http://oli.org.

Managing Editor Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or vpatton@mercedsun-star.com.

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