The pedestrian killed last night by a freight train in Riverside is a 21-year-old man from that city, Riverside County coroner’s officials say.
Davey Michels died at the scene of the 6:16 p.m. collision Wednesday along the railroad tracks near Riverside Avenue, about 200 feet south of Jurupa Avenue.
Investigators believe Michels was walking north about 6:20 p.m. with four or five companions on the west side of Riverside Avenue between Merrill Avenue and Elizabeth Street, when he decided to cross the tracks as the Union Pacific freight train approached.
The train struck him, leaving his crumpled body on the north side of the tracks about 20 feet west of Riverside Avenue. The train, a very short freight, came to a stop several hundred feet west of the collision.
At the scene Wednesday, Michels’ distraught companions stood nearby in tears, a young woman crying over and over again, “Why?”
A little more than an hour after the death, family members began to arrive. A man, upon hearing the news, cried out, “Oh, no! He’s my son.”
A police chaplain, who had arrived moments before the family did, met with gathered family and friends.
The tracks are shared by Metrolink commuter trains.
Investigators lowered the crossing bars, triggering flashing red lights and the gate horn, to be certain everything was operating correctly.
Two other people died near the same intersection in the past two years.
In February 2009, an 18-year-old woman was killed when she failed to move off the tracks when an approaching Metrolink train sounded its horn. The previous summer, a 16-year-old girl was hit about 500 yards east of Riverside Avenue. The coroner ruled her death a suicide.
That site is high on a Riverside city list of priorities for an underpass to be built to separate road and rail traffic, but funding is still being sought.
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