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Train collision victims identified

The names of the three men who died in the the collision last week of an Amtrak train and a pickup were released Monday morning.

Madera County Sheriff’s Office Cmdr. Bill Ward said Rafael Alvarez, 40, Jose Antonio Macias-Aguilar, 24, and Antonio Frausta-Perez, 35, were riding in the pickup when it was struck by the train on May 13. All three were farmworkers from Madera.

Witnesses reported that Alvarez, Aguillar and Perez were driving the white Chevrolet pickup on a private dirt road in the farmlands near Avenue 9 in Madera. At approximately 12:32 p.m., they pulled around a stopped freight train. Making their way onto the improved, but unsignalled, railroad crossing, they drove in front of the Amtrak train traveling at 79 mph.

The men were thrown from the vehicle after impact and died while the truck’s engine landed 40 feet away, authorities said. At this time, investigators don’t know if the stopped freight train had blocked the driver’s view, or who was driving the truck...

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