(Woodburn, Oregon – October 2, 2011)
The 38-year-old father of three children, ages 3, 5 and 7, was struck and killed by Amtrak’s “Coast Starlight”, carrying 208 passengers and a crew of 14, travelling at 45 mph, as he walked across Union Pacific Railroad tracks late Sunday afternoon about 3:24 P.M. on his way to meet his wife at a local church for evening services.
Jose Perez-Lopez, a local painter, was struck near his home, and several children in the residential area near the intersection on Cherry Street and South Front Street witnessed the tragedy and were noticeably shaken by the accident.
“This has affected an entire community,” attested Sonia Granados, mother of one of the young onlookers.
Woodburn Police Spokesman John Mikkola emphasized that “the death has not been ruled a suicide,” and added that initial investigation showed the incident to be “a tragic accident,” while Amtrak Spokeswoman Vernae Graham made sure to point out that the victim “was trespassing in a fenced area along the rail line, owned by Union Pacific.”