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Ex-mayor killed by train while chasing his runaway dog

A man who was struck and killed by an oncoming train while running after his dog near the train tracks Friday afternoon in Del Mar, Calif., has been identified as Louis Terrell, a former mayor and city councilman.

Sheriff’s Deputies say around 3:30 p.m. Terrell was walking his unleashed dog on the bluffs near the train tracks in the 100-block of 11th Street when a northbound Amtrak train approached the area and sounded its horn.

Investigators believe the horn spooked the dog, which darted across the tracks with Terrell running after the pet. It hit Terrell, killing him on impact.

“He’s done this probably a million times,” said Nick Ovanessoff, a Del Mar resident. “For the train to come by like that is pretty tragic, we’re all kind of shocked. I’ve lived here for 20 years and never seen anything like this.”

Terrell was also a former political science professor and chairman at San Diego State University,

Emergency crews confirmed the man’s death at the scene. Officials said it appears the man wasn't struck head-on by the train and may have been trying to get out of the way when he was fatally hit.

“It’s a horrible tragedy,” said Jeff Jonas, a Del Mar resident. “He was obviously chasing his dog, which any dog owner would obviously do and it just turned out terribly.”

His daughter gave a statement before asking us to respect the family’s privacy: “It’s a tragic and shocking loss. He was beloved by his family and the community and former colleagues at SDSU.”

The family said the dog survived and is at the Terrell home.

No one else was injured in the collision, though officials did say the conductor of the train was extremely shaken up by the accident.