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Three people killed in separate collisions with Amtrak trains on Central Coast

Flickr member Glenn Beltz

Central Coast officials are investigating three train track fatalities that occurred this weekend.

The Sheriff's Offices in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties say three individuals were killed during separate collisions involving Amtrak trains and persons on the tracks. 

A passenger train approaching Lookout Park in Summerland hit a transient man standing in the tracks early Friday evening. The Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office identified the man as 60-year-old Norman Horion.

On Saturday night, the San Luis Obispo Sheriff's Dispatch responded to report of a 19-year-old man hit by a train in rural San Luis Obispo. The San Luis Obispo Sheriff's Office said Aaron Matthew Wolf was declared dead at the scene.

An Amtrak passenger train struck and killed a woman in Goleta Sunday morning. Officials have identified the woman as 19-year-old Lilian Feng. She was a student at UC Santa Barbara. Officials say in the case of Feng, witness statements suggest a suicide.

In all these cases however, the official causes and manners of death will not be released until the investigations are complete. 

Over the past five years, 21 people in Santa Barbara County have died from collisions with trains, and nearly half of those have been ruled accidental.

Kelly Hoover, spokesperson for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office, said trains are much quieter than they used to be.

"It may seem that it would be very difficult to get hit by a train, but it does happen. Not only has it happened in our community, but across the country. There are definitely things people should keep in mind. Number one, always expect a train at each train intersection. Never assume that there isn't going to be one," said Hoover.

She also said people should never walk on the tracks, because it's unsafe and illegal, and that it's important to realize trains can weigh up to 200 tons, so they often are not able to stop quickly enough to avoid a collision when someone is on the tracks. 

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