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Karl1459

CZ passenger injured near Truckee CA, unknown circumstances

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I’m a little confused. Did he hop off the train at Truckee for some fresh air, and was later found unconscious near the station? Or was he stopping in Truckee anyway, and got hurt while he was there? Sorry if this is really obvious.

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This is the link. https://www.rgj.com/story/news/2018/05/21/amtrak-mum-passengers-severe-injuries/631150002/

 

Looks like the guy met somebody on the train. At some point he was beaten up and found on the side of the tracks. Amtrak police is investigating. Not clear what happened.

 

Imho this does not look good for Amtrak. This kind of beating would be noisy. And how was he put off the train? While it was moving? Or did they get off in Truckee?

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This is really disturbing and I refuse to believe that there was no foul play. I know articles like this tend to try to paint Amtrak in a negative light, but even so, it doesn't sound like Amtrak is really trying to put the family's best interests first.

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Another article: https://www.rgj.com/story/news/2018/05/21/amtrak-mum-passengers-severe-injuries/631150002/

 

Basically what is known is that

a. He was on the train.

b. Something happened.

c. He was found alongside the tracks with severe injuries.

d. The injuries suggest to me he is not able (and may never be able) to tell investigators what happened.

 

What the investigators are not disclosing is anything about (b). This could be because they simply do not know, or they do not want the details public to make it easier for them to validate a confession if the young man was a victim of an assault.

 

Any speculation is just that. Any AU types who were on that train (or know someone who was) and saw anything going on a little strange or even unusual should contact Amtrak.

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I wonder which side of the train/ tracks he was found on? I'm guessing it was opposite the station side! (less witnesses)

Edited by Rail Freak

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I wonder which side of the train/ tracks he was found on? I'm guessing it was opposite the station side! (less witnesses)

I feel like it wouldn't make much difference. They said he wasn't at the station, so 30 feet or whatever would be pretty insignificant.

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Everything is pure speculation at this point. The victim is unable to tell authorities what happened. You would think if there were witnesses to a brutal beating on the train that they would come forward with whatever details they know. The most obvious suspect is the "friend" this young man met in Sacramento, but that might not have anything to do with what happened on the train. Quite a mystery.

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Yeah, the "friend" part of the story sounds kind of suspicious. :ph34r:

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Yeah, the "friend" part of the story sounds kind of suspicious. :ph34r:

It's pretty normal to meet a friend on a long distance train. That certainly doesn't raise any red flags to me.

 

Could he have missed his train in Truckee and ran after it and was dragged by the train? It sure seems like someone getting beat up and thrown from a train would be just a little hard to hide, especially right after a station stop.

 

Whatever happened, this is truly tragic. I feel so sorry for the family and hope they at least get some answers soon.

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I don't see any statement that it wasn't in the station. But that said, it's likely it wasn't: in other words he was probably found at a point where the train would have been moving. The station is in the center of town, with lots of car and foot traffic. The train blocks a street when it stops there, and the station area is well used as a parking lot.

 

He would have been on 5(13). It left Reno one minute late, then was ahead of schedule the rest of the way to Emeryville.

 

The fact that the train was never delayed indicates that he wasn't discovered, or at least linked to the train, until well after it left Truckee. That's unlikely at that station, although I suppose anything is possible.

 

Truckee is a long town – runs east to west more or less following I-80 (and the tracks). So it could have happened in an out of the way place within the city limits, i.e. within the Truckee PD's nominal jurisdiction. Otherwise the RGJ reporter would have called the Placer County sheriff's office, or Truckee PD would have referred him. Truckee PD would have initially responded, so more information is probably available on the watch commander's log (or whatever they call it in Truckee). The fire department would also have records.

 

Getting more info might require an in person visit to Truckee – unless you've established yourself with an agency, it's often hard for a reporter to get info over the phone. I know that from a previous career – it was true even decades ago, when cops and firefighters were more talkative. Truckee isn't in the RGJ's core coverage area, so given the understaffing of newsrooms these days, it's not worth the trip.

 

Truckee PD (and, by extension, Amtrak PD) appears convinced that whatever caused the injuries happened on the train, so there must be some evidence beyond "we found him by the tracks". Amtrak PD says "there’s nothing to suggest criminal intent". If they're saying that and there's any evidence at all, it's an indication that they're thinking in terms of some kind of accident or misadventure. Falling or jumping off a train, even at a relatively low speed, can cause severe injuries – the kind of injuries described.

 

The reporter wrote it as a human interest story – it's about the family, not the incident. Thirty or forty years ago we would have called it lazy reporting, but times have changed. Reporters don't have the time to spend tracking down facts anymore. It appears this story relied on three sources: a conversation with one family member who doesn't know anything about the incident itself, a brief phone call with a Truckee PD sergeant and an email from Amtrak.

 

Whether or not someone else was involved in the incident, the meagre information available does not point toward a crime.

Edited by TiBike

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Found more info – the Truckee PD log is posted on the Interwebs (times have changed for the better in some ways too :-). Apparently it's posted on a weekly basis. It wouldn't have been up when the reporter wrote the story. Here's what it says:

 

 

Case #: T1800589

Case Type: AGNCY ASST
Location: TRUCKEE, CA
Place: UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD
Disposition: Referred to Other Agency
Event No: 1805150090
Report Type: AGNCY ASST
Date/Time: 05/15/2018 11:26
Agency: TPD Loc. Zone: 13
Officer: 6148
Synopsis: Officers responded to a report of an unconscious subject laying near the railroad tracks. The subject was transported to the nearest
trauma center with life threatening injuries. The investigation later determined the subject was a passenger on a recent Amtrack train.

 

He wasn't found until almost two hours after the train left the station, and wasn't linked to the Amtrak train until some time after that. Other than happening on the UP tracks, the only location info is "Zone: 13". I can't find any definitive information about how Truckee PD defines zones, but based on several reports, it looks like Zone 13 includes the eastern half of town. Can't tell for sure. It might include downtown, so I can't draw any conclusions one way or the other.
It's difficult to imagine that he was lying at the station for two hours before being discovered. It's far more likely it was somewhere else and the train was moving when he left it, by whatever means.

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Yeah, the "friend" part of the story sounds kind of suspicious. :ph34r:

It's pretty normal to meet a friend on a long distance train. That certainly doesn't raise any red flags to me.

 

While its pretty normal to meet a nice person on Amtrak, the circumstances here do raise a bit of a red flag for me. Aaron had said that he and the friend were going to tour Sacramento together, which seems sort of odd. I'm just saying that I can't see how this would have realistically happened by accident, and so it's worth considering someone who it seems to have had a connection with him on the train.

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It's pretty normal to meet a friend on a long distance train. That certainly doesn't raise any red flags to me.

Sounds like a person of interest in any case.

 

 

Could he have missed his train in Truckee and ran after it and was dragged by the train? It sure seems like someone getting beat up and thrown from a train would be just a little hard to hide, especially right after a station stop. Whatever happened, this is truly tragic. I feel so sorry for the family and hope they at least get some answers soon.

This is the part I have trouble following. Anyone crazy enough to grab onto a moving train with nowhere to sit or stand until the next stop is suffering from acute intoxication and/or a severe lack of self-preservation. Whereas a planned sucker punch style beating/robbing/dumping doesn't seem that hard at all. It's only going to be noisy and drawn out if the attacker telegraphs his or her intentions prior to the attack.

Edited by Devil's Advocate

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Yeah, I kind of doubt that the most likely scenario is that he got off in Truckee (which isn't a smoke stop), missed the train, ran after it, was able to catch up to it and hold on, and somehow couldn't realize this was a bad idea until half the bones in his body were broken.

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I'm not sure what the "most likely" scenario is. It just sounds like the some of the injuries could have resulted from being dragged by a moving train. Hardly something to argue about, was just sharing my initial thoughts.

 

My thoughts on the "friend" are... What if the friend had reported an incident to an Amtrak employee and it was ignored or dismissed? Would eplain Amtrak being so quiet about the case.

 

Obviously that's pure speculation... Most likely? I guess not. But the whole incident is not "likely" to occur.

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There are more stories online, but none that quote any additional primary source regarding the incident itself. A couple of stories say that he was found by a station employee, but don't say where and don't have a source for the information – one qualifies it with "reportedly". Other than what's in the RGJ article, there's no information from Truckee PD. The older story quotes what could be the same Amtrak statement. The earlier story quotes another cousin, who has a less dire (although still severe) description of Mr. Salazar's injuries.

 

The two later stories are more dramatic – characterising the source of injuries as a beating, without attribution other than the family – and have links to the family's GoFundMe page:

 

http://thisisreno.com/2018/05/amtrak-nothing-to-suggest-criminal-intent-in-case-of-man-critically-injured-in-truckee/

 

http://fox40.com/2018/05/22/family-says-mans-beating-in-truckee-was-a-hate-crime/

 

https://patch.com/california/sacramento/oregon-student-beaten-coma-left-dead-truckee

 

There's lots of speculation, but very little primary information available.

 

Edit: Duh. The Truckee station is unstaffed, although maybe there's a caretaker or volunteer about?

Edited by TiBike

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If he did get worked over and tossed from the train, that would have likely taken place in the Coach-Bag vestibule as there are no witness pax on the lower level; only the baggage area and the restrooms.....

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If he did get worked over and tossed from the train, that would have likely taken place in the Coach-Bag vestibule as there are no witness pax on the lower level; only the baggage area and the restrooms.....

Good thinking, but I'm not sure how much help that is when figuring out what happened...

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Probably the reason Amtrak is being quiet about the case is that the matter is under active investigation by Amtrak Police.

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I've gotta say, if it's true that Amtrak aren't letting or are trying to prevent the actual police investigate, that's kind of problematic. I don't believe that there's a major conspiracy to cover up foul play, but it still does not seem appropriate to keep this investigation completely to themselves.

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Amtrak PD are "actual police". They are an accredited agency with full police powers, they aren't just a bunch of security guard rent-a-cops, and they are the ones with jurisdiction for incidents onboard Amtrak trains in transit. My understanding is that other agencies actually do not have jurisdiction, so it is up to Amtrak PD. Unless they want to bring in the FBI, the incident having occurred on an interstate train, the FBI could come in any time they wanted to.

Edited by zephyr17

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Amtrak PD are "actual police". They are an accredited agency with full police powers, they aren't just a bunch of security guard rent-a-cops, and they are the ones with jurisdiction for incidents onboard Amtrak trains in transit. My understanding is that other agencies actually do not have jurisdiction, so it is up to Amtrak PD. Unless they want to bring in the FBI, the incident having occurred on an interstate train, the FBI could come in any time they wanted to.

Thanks for the info on that. However, wouldn't the "government police" have jurisdiction since he was found by the side of the tracks?

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IMHO, since he was last seen as a passenger on the train and was found by the side of the tracks that train travels on, it probably still falls to Amtrak PD. However, with that said, Amtrak PD is stretched pretty thin in California (Amtrak PD probably had to come up from the Bay Area, at best from Sacramento) and I think they'd be well served to bring in the FBI into this sooner rather than later if there is the least suspicion of foul play. I do get the impression from the (very sketchy) news reports that jumping off/falling off/grabbing onto a moving train and then having to let go is a theory very much in play based on the somewhat dismissive quote from Amtrak PD. Not unreasonable, you can get badly hurt by falling off a train moving at any speed. Ballast isn't soft.

 

First question in my mind is was the guy seen on the ground during the stop in Truckee?

Edited by zephyr17

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Amtrak cops are real cops with particular jurisdiction. Finely split jurisdictional lines are very common in California. For example, if a crime happens on state property, the CHP has jurisdiction, even if it's inside the city limits. Many agencies – school districts, universities, airport and port districts, parks – have their own police forces that have responsibility within their particular jurisdictions, even if contained within an incorporated city (or town – the terms are interchangeable in California).

 

It's very common for transit agencies to have their own, separate police jurisdiction. BART, for example, has its own internal police force. Caltrain, on the other hand, contracts with the San Mateo sheriff's office, which is why you often see San Mateo SO cars in downtown San Francisco (California cops have universal police authority – a cop anywhere in California is a cop everywhere).

 

Don't assume that the Truckee police aren't involved. They might be part of the investigation, but as a matter of protocol they would refer any questions to the lead agency, which would be Amtrak if they believe, as they seem to do, that the incident, whatever it was, happened on an Amtrak train or other property. Even if it ended somewhere else.

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