(Marana, Arizona – October 4, 2019)
Two construction contractor employees were killed Friday morning at about 11:09 AM, MDT when their pickup truck was struck and dragged “hundreds of yards” by a westbound Union Pacific freight train at an unguarded private rail crossing in Marana, AZ.
Authorities would not identify either victim, but family members said one was local resident Alonzo “Al” Joseph Abeyta, 26, of Marana, AZ, the father of two girls ages 8 and 5. The driver was later identified by authorities as Salvador Bustamante, 54, hometown undisclosed.
Both victims were employees of CenturyLink, a firm doing contracting in the area. Abeyta was a foreman for the firm, but was going to school in hope of becoming a police officer.
The tragedy occurred on Union Pacific property. The railroad operates a double-track main line paralleling IH-10, and the tragic scene was between the Tangerine Road and Avra Valley Road exits. Union Pacific operates as many as 40 daily freight and Amtrak passenger trains through the corridor at maximum allowable speeds of 79 mph.
There were no flashing lights or automatic gates at the fatal crossing. It is also unclear whether the train ever blew its horn on approach to the crossing.