Teen hit by train in San Luis Obispo is identified


Friends of Oscar Gonzalez have created a memorial for him at Santa Rosa Skate Park.

A white cross made of skateboards and a sign reading “RIP Oscar” hangs above a pyramid ramp where Gonzalez skated almost daily.

Friends are leaving flowers and handwritten messages to honor him.

Original story:

The 17-year-old killed when he was hit by a train on Thursday has been identified as Oscar Gonzalez of San Luis Obispo.

San Luis Obispo Police Capt. Chris Staley confirmed Friday morning that Gonzalez was killed after he was struck by an Amtrak train about 3:50 p.m. while trying to cross the tracks near Cal Poly.

The San Luis Obispo High School student, who just completed his junior year, likely did not hear the train coming about a quarter-mile south of California and Foothill boulevards because he was wearing headphones, police said.

It is the fourth death in that area in 35 years, though the three previous deaths were near the crossing at the intersection.

Gonzalez and his friends were walking from the skate park on Santa Rosa Street and reportedly heading to a friends house when they crossed the tracks heading toward California Boulevard from Murray Street, Staley said.

The death of Cal Poly student Jason Sy, who was hit by a train while crossing on his mountain bike in November 2001, prompted surrounding property owners to discuss how to make the crossing safer. In 2004, Union Pacific announced it would install a crossing gate, flashing lights and fencing at the crossing. It was installed that year.

However, the fencing, as well as a pedestrian walkway, ends at the area where Gonzalez and his friends crossed, Staley noted.

-- Cynthia Lambert and AnnMarie Cornejo