Two people were killed early Saturday morning after the pickup they were in collided with a train just north of Denair.
Sgt. Michael Brush of the California Highway Patrol said that a man from Ceres driving south on Santa Fe Avenue at about 2:30 a.m. tried to beat the train to the East Keyes Road intersection.
The vehicle apparently got ahead of the commercial freight train, which was traveling at 70 mph, before turning west on Keyes. The driver maneuvered around one of the railroad arms, but could not get across the tracks before the train plowed into the passenger side of the vehicle, instantly killing the two occupants.
The man is believed to be in his late 30s. There was no immediate identification of his female passenger.
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Alcohol, according to Brush, is believed to have played a factor in the wreck.
The BNSF Railway tracks have been closed all morning as workers attempted to extricate the vehicle from the front of the train. Santa Fe was closed between Keyes and East Zeering Road, but was expected to re-open by 7:45 a.m.
Brush said he did not know when the BNSF tracks would open.
“When the crossing guards are down, you don’t go around them because you’re putting someone’s life in dire consequence,” Brush said. “Hopefully, people will see this and use this as an educational tool.”
We’ll have more on this breaking story as information becomes available.