County officials have ruled the latest fatality on the Peninsula’s Caltrain tracks an accident, the fifth such death this year.
Wednesday evening’s accident brought 2006’s total Caltrain deaths to 11, passing the 2005 total of 10. Eighty percent of last year’s deaths were suicides.
Redwood City resident and ice cream salesman Elias Mecina Vazquez, 63, was riding home on a three-wheeled "powered ice cream cart" with a freezer box attached to the rear when he was hit by a northbound train slowing down to enter the Sequoia station near Chestnut Street, according to officials.
Caltrain spokesman Jonah Weinberg said witnesses at the scene saw Vazquez go around the lowered crossing arms as the lights were flashing and bells were ringing to warn of an oncoming train.
"It was moving at a decent clip but it was slowing down," Weinberg said.
The San Mateo County Coroner’s Office pronounced Vazquez dead at the scene.
Vazquez’s death was one of two on the Caltrain tracks Wednesday. A Morgan Hill 18-year-old reportedly died on the tracks when he was hit by a Union Pacific train.
Weinberg said that trains throughout history "are always much quieter than you might think, particularly when they’re coming toward you."
He cautioned about future trains, saying they’ll be nearly silent when Caltrain goes electric in 2012.