Oscar Gonzalez, 17, was struck and killed by an Amtrak passenger train near the corner of California Boulevard and Foothill Boulevard last Thursday around 3:50 p.m.
Gonzalez and two of his friends had left Santa Rosa Skatepark to meet friends on the other side of town and used the railroad tracks as a shortcut, said Captain Chris Staley of the San Luis Obispo Police Department.
“He was walking ahead of his friends and had his headphones on,” Staley said. “The train engineer tried to alert him but he didn’t hear the whistle.”
Once the train engineer realized that Gonzalez couldn’t hear him, he hit the breaks — but trains take a considerably long time to stop, he said.
Gonzalez was struck by the front of the train and died from the collision, Staley said.
“The trains are pretty quiet in the front and when you’re traveling you often don’t hear them because most of the noise is distributed to the sides and the back,” Staley said.
Gonzalez was listening to music as well as playing with his phone when the accident occurred, Gonzalez’s uncle Sergio Rodriguez said.
“His friends called his name and he couldn’t hear them and when he saw the train it was too late,” he said. “His friends were the only ones who actually saw what happened.”
Police always encourage to use controlled intersections not only because of the dangers but also because it is a misdemeanor to trespass on railroad property.
Gonzalez’s mother, Maria Gonzalez, said that he liked to have friends over and most of the time when he was home he was with them too. “I miss him a lot,” she said.
Anna Gonzalez, Gonzalez’s sister, said his friends have said he was always making jokes — and a very outgoing person.
“He never had problems with anybody,” she said. “He was smart in school too and was going to graduate early from Pacific Beach High School.”
The service for Gonzalez will be held today at the Reis Family Mortuary from 2 to 7 p.m. On Friday a Mass will be held at Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa at 10 a.m.
A gathering will be held at Santa Rosa Skatepark after the burial at the Old Mission Cemetery.