Another day, another ghost bike.
But at least this time there wasn’t a motorist involved.
Ventura talk radio station KVTA reports a man was killed when he was run down from behind by an Amtrak train while riding on the tracks in Oxnard Tuesday morning.
The victim, publicly identified only as a 32-year old Oxnard man, was reportedly riding north on the railroad tracks roughly 100 yards from the Oxnard Transportation Center when he was struck by a northbound train just after 11 am.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to Oxnard Police Commander Luis McArthur, the engineer of Pacific Surfliner Train 763 sounded his horn several times and tried to stop, but couldn’t bring the train to a halt in time, despite witness statements that it was traveling at just 20-30 mph before the crash.
The victim made no effort to get out of the way as he rode with a hoody pulled over his head; however, there’s no evidence that he was wearing headphones or earbuds.
Which raises the question of why he wasn’t aware of the massive train bearing down on him. Let alone what he was doing on the tracks in the first place.
This is at least the 33rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fifth that I’m aware of in Ventura County, which exceeds the total for all of last year.
It’s also the sixth Southern California bike death that’s come to our attention in less than two weeks.
Update: The victim has been identified as 31-year old Oxnard resident Esau C. Castaneda.
Investigators have ruled out suicide as a cause of death, but still have no explanation why he didn’t hear the train approaching.
My deepest sympathy and prayers for Esau C. Castaneda and his loved ones.