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Former Sunnysider hit, killed by train

Former Sunnyside resident Severiano "Chico" Rodriguez Jr., 36, died early Monday morning in a train-pedestrian accident in Skamania County.

According to Skamania County Sheriff's Sgt. Brett Robison, Rodriquez was on a fishing trip with fellow employees of Bob Hall Chevrolet when the accident occurred at about 7:45 a.m.

Rodriquez had parked his car at a parking lot near the mouth of the Wind River, a place where anglers often park and cross the tracks to a boat launching area, according to Robison.

Rodriquez was walking along the railroad tracks toward the boat when he was hit, he added.

"The conductor yelled out the window," said Robison. "They didn't receive a response from the gentleman."

The train engineer then blew the train whistle and hit the emergency break, but was unable to stop in time. The train hit Rodriquez, killing him upon impact.

The place where Rodriquez was killed was a stretch of track with two miles of visibility, said Robison.

"It was like he didn't hear the train," he said.

Robison said there was a gentle slope along the tracks that Rodriquez could have moved to in order to avoid the train.

The train engineer reported the incident to his dispatch, which then contacted the Skamania County Sheriff's office. Sheriff's deputies and the Skamania EMS responded to the scene.

Both the Skamania County Sheriff's Department and the Burlington Northern Police are investigating the incident.

Robison said that reports from witnesses support the train engineer's story.

"Several heard the train whistle and the train's emergency breaks," said Robison. "A couple of people actually saw him get hit."

The Skamania County Sheriff's Office is continuing its investigation into the incident.

"At this point it appears to be a tragic accident," said Robison.

Rodriquez's body was taken to the Clark County Medical Examiners Office, where an autopsy will be performed.

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