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Vehicle Vs. Train Collision, Safe Dumping Investigated

An unoccupied vehicle on the railroad tracks at the Highway 120 crossing just west of Escalon was struck by a train about 10:30 p.m. on Monday, March 19.

Escalon police and fire crews responded to the scene after receiving a report of a vehicle vs. train accident. There was significant front end damage to the vehicle, an early 2000s Honda sedan, which was struck by a freight train.

Escalon Police Department Detective Anthony Hardgraves said there were no injuries in the incident, as everyone got out of the vehicle safely.

“The vehicle was eastbound on Highway 120, and went on to the tracks, there where the road curves,” Hardgraves said. “That happens quite frequently, it seems.”

Escalon Fire Chief Rick Mello agreed, noting that the department has responded to several calls where vehicles inadvertently turn too quickly to the right as they approach the tracks, turning on to the siding as opposed to following the curve in the roadway.

In this case, the vehicle occupants were able to get out safely but the car could not be removed from the tracks in time to avoid being struck by the relatively slow-moving freight train.

“The road lines kind of disappear with the tracks” in that area, Hardgraves said, which may have an impact, especially if drivers are unfamiliar with the area and the curve in the roadway.

Heading up the investigation on the scene were Escalon Police Sgt. Gustavo Flores Officer Steven Quilici.

It was the second unusual incident requiring police assistance in the Escalon area in recent days; a gun safe was pulled out of the South San Joaquin Irrigation District canal at Harrold and Jones over the weekend. Authorities with the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department said the safe appeared to have been randomly dumped and said anyone with information can contact the department at 209-468-4400. The full size Winchester gun safe was guarded by deputies until arrangements could be made to pull it out of the water – the safe is listed as weighing about 1,000 pounds dry, up to 3,000 pounds wet.