A run-in with a train cost psychology student Ryan West his right foot early Saturday morning.
Union Pacific Railroad contacted the San Luis Obispo Police Department (SLOPD) at 1:16 a.m. to notify authorities that a pedestrian had been hit, authorities said.
The train was traveling northbound when the conductor saw a pedestrian on the tracks and started sounding the horn, according to a SLOPD press release. However, police said West, 21, did not move and the train was unable to stop before hitting him.
“Those horns put out a pretty loud blare,” SLOPD Sgt. John Bledsoe said. “Unless he was deaf, I don’t know how he could miss it.”
Police and medical personnel found the young man located at the railroad crossing at the intersection of California and Foothill boulevards. West lay unconscious and suffered substantial damage to his right leg, authorities said. An ambulance transported him to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center soon thereafter.
Not long after West was taken to the hospital, agribusiness freshman Ryan Mazzuca walked past the scene on his way to Stenner Glen. He said blood was still on the tracks and police were taking pictures of the train.
“It appears that he was by himself,” Bledsoe said of West, citing that it is unknown whether alcohol was involved. “In that area, there’s quite a lot of people out and about on Friday and Saturday nights.”
However, the damage to West’s right leg was substantial and doctors amputated his foot and the six inches above it. His stepfather, Martin Hedges, said he would undergo a second surgery on Tuesday to amputate a bit more.
“He’s doing fair – he’s conscious and alert,” Hedges said. Though West will be in intensive care for some time, he said that he wants to return to Cal Poly upon recovery.
When West regained consciousness, he could not remember anything, his stepfather said.
“We’re all very happy he’s alive,” he said. “We’d give up a foot to have the whole boy.”