DEL MAR (CBSLA.com) — A former mayor of Del Mar was killed on Friday when he was hit by an Amtrak train as he attempted to save his dog from the tracks.
The 75-year-old man, whose name has not been released, was reportedly walking his Labrador Retriever off-leash on a coastal bluff near the tracks, according to San Diego Sheriff’s deputies.
Witnesses suggest the dog may have been startled when the train’s engineer sounded his horn, which resulted in the animal panicking and running onto the tracks.
The man was struck by the train as he leaned over the tracks to grab the dog.
The dog was not hurt.
The man’s neighbors say that he was well-respected in the community, and that he had been mayor of Del Mar in the 1980s, in addition to being a political science professor at San Diego State University.
“He’s done this probably a million times, and for the train to come by like that, it’s tragic and we’re all kind of shocked because we’ve lived here for 20 years and (have) never seen anything like this,” a neighbor said.