(Empire, California – March 9, 2021)
A 60-year-old Modesto, CA man was killed after his 2003 GMC Yukon was struck by a BNSF freight train. The collision occurred at about 3:25 pm at the triple-tracked crossing owned and maintained by BNSF in Empire, CA. The nearby road intersection is Yosemite and Santa Fe avenues.
The Stanislaus County Coroner’s Office identified the victim as Rick Navarro of Modesto. According to multiple witnesses, Mr. Navarro entered the crossing prior to the activation of the lights and gate signal system. However, he was unable to make it across the nearly 100-foot crossing before being struck by the northbound freight train.
According to railroad supplied records, there are an average of thirty-two freight trains that travel across the Yosemite Blvd Crossing at speeds up to 79 mph. The crossing has also been the site of ten prior train collisions, with the most recent occurring just a couple months ago in July of 2020. This most recent collision and fatality marks the sixth fatality to occur at this dangerous crossing.