Update, Oct. 20: The woman who died after an Amtrak train struck her Oct. 4 has been identified as 56-year-old Selana Eileen Williams. Her death has been ruled as accidental, the result of blunt impact to her head and torso, according to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office’s Coroner’s Bureau.
Williams, who went by “Sissy,” lived at the encampment at 8th and Harrison streets at least as recently as this summer, when she gave an interview to The Daily Californian.
Original story, Oct. 6: A woman has died after being struck by an Amtrak train near Harrison Street in Northwest Berkeley Wednesday.
Berkeley police said they first received a report of the collision at 5:35 p.m., and when officers arrived at the scene, they found a woman in her 50s already dead.
Police referred other questions to Amtrak, whom they said is handling the investigation.
Kelly Just, a spokesperson for Amtrak, did say that the person was “trespassing on the track” when Train 545, en route southbound from Sacramento to Oakland, struck the person. None of the 45 passengers and crew members onboard the train were hurt, Just said. She referred further questions to a spokesperson for the Amtrak Police Department, who was not immediately reachable.
An autopsy by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office’s Coroner’s Bureau is still pending.
The neighborhood on the east side of the tracks is a mixture of industrial buildings, retail businesses, a shelter, social services offices, sports fields and the Berkeley Skatepark. A few businesses are west of the tracks in two blocks between them and Interstate 80.
There is a small tent encampment near the tracks in the area. Several people there Thursday said the woman struck did not live in the encampment.
Shortly after the time of the collision, at 5:58 p.m., city police sent out a Nixle alert asking motorists to avoid Gilman Street between 2nd and 4th streets, a block south of where they said the collision took place. Gilman is the closest street crossing to where the collision took place.
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