TRUCKEE -- A Truckee woman was struck and killed by a Union Pacific freight train Wednesday as she was walking or running on the tracks wearing headphones.
She was killed at about 1:40 p.m. on the railroad tracks east of the Highway 267 overpass.
Truckee Police Department investigators have determined the event to be a tragic accident, Police Chief Adam McGill said in a news release.
According to the release, Janaki Rose Hayes, 27, who had recently moved to Truckee from Oregon, had walked to the tracks from the Olympic Heights neighborhood.
Wearing headphones that fully covered her ears while listening to music, Hayes was either walking or running westbound on the rails, police said.
“We concluded from our investigation that her intent was to cross the river at some point to access the Legacy Trail for a jog,” McGill said later in an interview.
There is a pedestrian bridge west of the overpass, on which people can cross from East River Street to access the popular trail.
The train operators, who were traveling west from Sparks, Nev., to Roseville, saw the victim in their path, sounded the horn extensively, slowed the train and did what they could to avoid striking her, authorities said.
“It appears the train operators did not contribute to this accident and did all they could to avoid it,” McGill said in the release.
Union Pacific and the train operators were cooperative during the investigation, he said. The train, which had only the operators on board, was stopped and remained at the scene during the investigation.
Any witnesses can call Detective Arnie Lopez at (530) 550-2336.
Neither alcohol nor drugs appear to be a factor in this case, police said.
“The Truckee Police Department would like to remind everyone that not only is it illegal to walk on or cross railroad tracks, it is dangerous,” McGill said in the release.
While acknowledging that railroad tracks must be crossed frequently in communities they run through, McGill said that people should be aware the tracks are private property.
“Certainly everybody does it every day,” he said, “and we’re not out there ticketing them. It’s appropriate to cross at intersections and wherever roadways and sidewalks cross over, but on Truckee Thursdays and other events, people often cross in other places where it is illegal.”