Toppenish man killed by train in Wapato

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WAPATO, Wash. (AP) -- The person struck and killed by a freight train early Friday at Wapato was a 38-year-old man from Toppenish.

Authorities are investigating why he was on the tracks.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe spokesman Gus Melonas (mel-OWN'-us) says it happened at 4:30 a.m. about 200 feet from a crossing. He says the train, on its way from Yakima to Pasco, had just gone through the crossing, which has a gate and flashing lights. The crew is required to blow the train's whistle at the gate, and its speed is limited to 49 mph.

Melonas says the crew saw the man lying or sleeping next to the rails, but the train was unable to stop.

The railroad track is a secondary line connecting Puget Sound and the Columbia Basin.