Former Del Mar Mayor struck and killed by train - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Former Del Mar Mayor struck and killed by train

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(Photo courtesy Susan Schelling) (Photo courtesy Susan Schelling)
(Photo courtesy Del Mar Community Connections) (Photo courtesy Del Mar Community Connections)

DEL MAR (CNS/CBS 8) - The man who was struck and killed by a train while chasing his dog across a coastal bluff near Powerhouse Park was identified Saturday as former Del Mar Mayor Lou Terrell, a county supervisor said.

The northbound Amtrak locomotive hit Terrell off the 100 block of 11th Street in Del Mar shortly before 3:30 p.m. Friday, according to sheriff's officials.

Sheriff's Sgt. Anthony O'Boyle said that based on witness statements and the preliminary investigation, the 75-year-old had apparently been walking his dog off-leash on the bluff on the west side of the tracks. The train's engineer blasted his horn as he spotted then, which startled the animal, the sergeant said.

The dog then headed toward the tracks, and Terrell attempted to prevent his pet from being struck, and in turn was struck himself, according to O'Boyle. He died at the scene.

The dog was unhurt, according to broadcast reports.

"He'll be terribly missed, it's a void on everyone's heart there's definitely a void in my heart that he's not here," Del Mar Mayor Lee Haydu said. 

Haydu says Lou Terrell served as the mayor for Del Mar in 1981-1982.

The former councilmember and community activist was a visionary in seeing a better future for Del Mar. 

"He would be remembered for all of the things he did, all of his passion. He worked on the Del Mar Foundation and brought our summer concerts...all the events of the foundation and what he's done for Del Mar," Haydu said.

One of Terrell's friends told CBS News 8, that crossing the tracks was a daily routine for the retired SDSU professor and his Labrador retriever.

Haydu says she's a better person for having known Terrell and says she won't forget that infectious smile.

"It was the Lou smile I would call it...and just a very genuine person, very easy to talk to," she said.

The North County Transit District provided bus service between Solana Beach and Sorrento Valley for rail commuters facing delays due to the fatality. Coaster train service was expected to be running behind schedule into the evening hours, the agency advised.

A celebration of life for Terrell is planned for 10 a.m. Sunday at the Powerhouse Community Center, at 1658 Coast Blvd. in Del Mar, according to county Supervisor Dave Roberts.

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