Senior killed crossing RR tracks in Merced

FRESNO, Calif. A Union Pacific train traveling nearly 50 mph through downtown Merced hit and killed an 85-year old woman friends called 'Tawkeen.'

Saturday morning investigators did not release her name but people clearly recognized her blue walker mangled along the tracks. "Everyday with the same color she walks up and down trying to get her exercise in," Walter Mcmillian said.

"I constantly used to see her walk by. We were acquaintances," Richard Aguilar said. The conductor told police he honked 4 times before impact. Investigators said the rail road alerts were working properly.

"The lights were going, they were ringing and she elected to go around the arms." Officer John Pinnegar

Tawkeen lived at the Sierra Meadows senior living center one block away. Management helped provide detectives with locating her family.

Residents were shocked. "There's a lot of senior citizens that walk across there and I'm surprised there has not been more accidents," Neighbor Robert Warren said.

This is the second death on this railroad track and the third one in a year here in Merced.

Some of the people we spoke say this death highlights a bigger problem here in the city and that something needs to be done to make these crossways safer.

"Maybe that plan they're trying to do on G Street should be all the way down. Rise this up, elevate it up that way we won't have these accidents happen," said Mcmillian.

City leaders have already begun work on a project to elevate this rail road track located off of G Street just east of Saturday morning's deadly crash.

The project will not be completed for more than a year and a half but residents hope not only to reduce traffic congestion but save lives in the future with this new plan.

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