An adult Hispanic male was hit and killed by an Amtrak train Saturday morning while walking on train tracks in Montecito.
The passenger train was headed northbound to the Santa Barbara station when the accident occurred, Lt. Mike Burridge, Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Dept. public information officer, said.
"It was Saturday at 11:35 [a.m.] on a northbound Amtrak. It hit a pedestrian walking on the tracks in the Montecito area," he said. "The conductor tried to stop but he was unable to. Deputies responded and the person was obviously deceased."
Burridge said Santa Barbara police have identified the victim, but his name will not be released until his next of kin is notified. Officials have not yet determined why the victim was on the tracks, but have not ruled out suicide. No Amtrak crew or passengers on the train were injured in the accident.
Amtrak spokesperson Karina VanVeen said the conductor attempted to engage the emergency break when he saw the pedestrian, but the train could not stop in time.
"The track speed was 45 miles per hour because it’s right outside a station, and the conductor was going 45," she said. "It takes a minimum of one minute for the trains to stop because of the force behind the engine. Unfortunately, they can’t stop immediately like cars. Oftentimes, by the time a conductor sees a car or person on the tracks, it’s already too late. The conductor did throw it into emergency, which is the emergency break, but unfortunately it was too late."
The train was delayed for approximately 45 minutes after the accident. Amtrak will be conducting its own investigation, but will work closely with the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Dept, Van Veen said.
According to Burridge, accidents involving pedestrians and trains happen often.
"It happens all the time," he said. "It’s a common thing. Unfortunately, people walk on the tracks and get hurt."
– Marisa Lagos