Gilbert man struck and killed by train - East Valley Tribune: Public Safety

Gilbert man struck and killed by train

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Posted: Tuesday, July 3, 2012 3:42 pm

A 46-year-old Gilbert man was struck by a train early Tuesday morning and killed, according to Sgt. Bill Balafas, Gilbert Police spokesman.

The victim was identified as Patrick Zenner, Balafas said.

Shortly before 3:45 a.m., a Union Pacific Railroad engineer saw something along the railroad tracks in the distance, Balafas said. The engineer blew the horn, which caused a reaction from Zenner, who moved but still had his legs across the railroad tracks.

A responding officer found Zenner alive, but with both legs severed. He immediately applied tourniquets to both legs and began compressions until paramedics arrived up to eight minutes later. When paramedics arrived, Zenner no longer had a pulse.

“We were able to get a pulse back and a blood pressure back,” said Mike Connor, Gilbert Fire Department spokesman.

Zenner was then transported to Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn by ambulance, where he later died.

Alcohol may have been a factor in the man’s death, Balafas said.

“There was an odor on the victim,” he said.

Investigators are waiting on a toxicology report from the medical examiner’s office.

The incident occurred on the train tracks near the crossing at Gilbert Road.

The train was unable to stop for nearly another half mile after the emergency brake was pulled, Balafas said.

“This doesn’t happen very often. I can recall a number of incidences over the last couple of years,” Connor said. “It’s not the first time, but it is definitely infrequent.”

The Gilbert police department had recently finished its quarterly training that taught officers advanced life-saving and combat-style techniques, such as tourniquet use, Balafas said.

“This is the third use on citizens,” he said. “It actually worked, but there was just so much damage.”

At this time, it appears that the incident was accidental, Balafas said. There appears to be no additional witnesses.

“The tracks in this area go diagonally, and it’s been noticed that people have used the tracks to go from point A to point B,” said Zoe Richmond, spokeswoman for Union Pacific Railroad. “It is private property and considered trespassing, but more importantly it’s dangerous too. We would like to remind people that anytime can be train time.”

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