Truckee woman killed had headphones on, couldn’t hear train coming |

Truckee woman killed had headphones on, couldn’t hear train coming

This Union Pacific double-decker cargo train was moving when it struck and killed a local woman Wednesday afternoon just east of the Highway 267 bridge, authorities said.
Sylas Wright / |

TRUCKEE, Calif. — In what officials are calling a tragic accident, a local woman died Wednesday after a train struck her while she jogged on the tracks near the Truckee River.

The Truckee Police Department received a report at 1:40 p.m. of a person hit by a train on the Union Pacific Railroad underneath and east of the Highway 267 overpass, according to a statement.

First responders soon found the body of Janaki Rose Hayes, 27, of Truckee, on the side of the tracks.

An investigation determined Hayes had come from the Olympic Heights neighborhood on foot, crossing Glenshire Drive and down to the rails on the north side of the Truckee River.

Hayes was walking or running westbound on the tracks with the intent of crossing the river to access the Truckee Legacy Trail.

“The victim was wearing headphones that fully covered her ears while listening to loud music,” police said Thursday. “The train operators saw the victim in their path, sounded the horn extensively, slowed the train, and did what they could to avoid striking the victim.

“It appears the train operators did not contribute to this accident and did all they could to avoid it.”

No one else was hurt in the incident.

The train — a Union Pacific cargo double-decker — was stopped and remained on scene during the investigation, Police Chief Adam McGill told the Sierra Sun Wednesday.

Hayes was living in Truckee after recently relocating from Oregon, according to police.

Alcohol and/or drugs do not appear to be a factor in the case.

While an official cause of death is awaiting an autopsy, a spokesman for the Nevada County Sheriff’s coroner’s office on Thursday said it’s likely due to blunt force trauma.

The train was traveling from Sparks, Nev., to Roseville, Calif. There were no passengers aboard other than the operators.

“The Truckee Police Department would like to remind everyone that not only is it illegal to walk on or cross railroad tracks — it is dangerous,” police said. “Additionally, whether near tracks or not, wearing headphones in or over both ears while walking or running is dangerous as it denies you one of the most valuable human senses of danger — your hearing.”

Further, the wearing of headphones in both ears while riding a bicycle on a roadway or operating a motor vehicle on a roadway is illegal and subject to citation, according to police.

Anyone who may have witnessed this collision is asked to contact TPD Detective Arnie Lopez at 530-550-2336.

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