Train hits, kills man who was laying on tracks in Phoenix

Jul 19, 2023, 1:10 PM

Google Street View image of train tracks crossing Indian School Road near 35th Avenue in Phoenix, A...

Train tracks cross Indian School Road near 35th Avenue in Phoenix. (Google Street View Screenshot)

(Google Street View Screenshot)

PHOENIX – A man was killed by a commercial train early Wednesday after laying down on tracks in west Phoenix, authorities said.

Officers responded to the area near the 35th Avenue/Indian School Road/Grand Avenue intersection around 1:30 a.m. and found a man on the tracks with obvious signs of injury, the Phoenix Police Department said.

Fire department personnel arrived and pronounced 59-year-old Richard Sierzega dead at the scene.

Detectives determined that Sierzega was laying on the tracks and the conductor was unable to stop the train in time to avoid hitting him.

The investigation is ongoing.

The railroad crossing at 35th Avenue and Indian School Road was named one of the most dangerous in the nation in a 2016 study by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration.

The tracks in that area run parallel to Grand Avenue (aka U.S. 60), the only major diagonal road on the Valley’s street grid.

In 2018, officials approved a plan to make traffic signal and railroad crossing safety enhancements at the busy three-street intersection.

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Train hits, kills man who was laying on tracks in Phoenix