A pair of accidents claimed two lives in Riverbank this past week, one in a car crash and the other on the train tracks.
The first incident, on Wednesday, Oct. 29 originally had Riverbank Police Services responding to a call about 4:15 p.m. regarding a vehicle that was involved in a collision on Second and Santa Fe streets. Deputies searched the area but did not find the vehicle or evidence of a collision.
About 15 minutes later, police received another call stating that there was a subject in a vehicle that had driven onto the riverbank at River Cove Drive and the car was on fire. Sheriff’s deputies and members of the fire department responded to the scene, where bystanders were also attempting to help free the driver from his vehicle.
Authorities said the flames kept would-be rescuers from successfully reaching the man, identified as Anthony Bedford, 76, of Modesto. He was able to eventually extricate himself from the car but had suffered extensive burns. Bedford reportedly had driven his vehicle onto the riverbank and high-centered it, with the heat from the undercarriage sparking the subsequent grass fire that engulfed the car.
Bedford was airlifted to UC Davis Medical Center where he died shortly after arrival. Investigators reported that the accident was the cause of the car fire but at press time were still investigating the cause of the initial accident, why Bedford went off the road and onto the steep riverside embankment.
Meanwhile, just a couple of days later, Riverbank Police and emergency services crews responded to a report of a pedestrian struck by an Amtrak train around 9:13 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 31 near the area of Terminal Avenue and Claribel Road.
Riverbank Police Services was notified of the accident by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Police and responded to the area.
The train struck the victim in the area of Terminal Avenue and Claribel Road and the body was located near Terminal Avenue east of Talbot Road. The individual was pronounced deceased at the scene.
Riverbank Police Sergeant Kevin Davis said the investigation so far has determined a lone individual, believed to be a transient male, was walking along the tracks when he was struck by the Amtrak train going southbound.
“It appears accidental at this time,” said Sergeant Davis. “There’s no sign of foul play or believed to be a suicide.”
Davis said the accident did not have any effect on vehicle traffic but delayed the train while police and safety officials processed the scene. The man had not been identified as of press time for The News.
The circumstances leading up to the collision are not yet clear, and the incident is under investigation by the BNSF Police Department.