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Santa Barbara High student Ryan Chapman killed by train off Fernald Point in Montecito Wednesday

Male teen struck and killed by train near Fernald Point in Montecito
Train incident leaves teen dead

MONTECITO, Calif. – A birthday celebration on a sunny day at Fernald Point Beach and Sharks Cove in Montecito turned tragic on Wednesday when an Amtrak train struck and killed a male teenager.

On Thursday, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department identified the deceased teen as 15-year-old Ryan Bradley Chapman of Santa Barbara.

Santa Barbara High School will be opening a Compassion Center for students and their families as they mourn the loss of one of their own from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the rest of the week in the Alumni Room.

On Wednesday, neighbors heard the commotion around 1:40 p.m.

"I just heard a lot of fire and ambulances, police activity, sirens," said Peter Novick.

Traffic jams followed.

There is beach access at Posilipo Lane with a walkway to the sand south of Miramar Beach.

Fernald Cove is a gated community and residents said they have been concerned about people taking a shortcut along the tracks that leads to a chute heading down to the beach.

Robbie Anderson shared his concerns with Amtrak.

"It was inevitable. You know, I've mentioned to them before about this, that these accidents happening and people accessing the cove down here, that the only way down to it is from a chute that's up to the railroad tracks," said Anderson.

There have been other fatal accidents along the tracks in Montecito, including one that left an 18-year old Santa Barbara High School senior dead in March 2017.

Anderson wants to see access blocked in dangerous areas.

"The railroad needs to block access to this area. I've mentioned to them before about this that these accidents happening and people accessing the cove." said Anderson, " There's no signage warning, but you would think people would, you know, not walk on railroad tracks."

Teens said the friend they lost had just finished his freshman year at Santa Barbara High School.

Parents came to drive them home as Surfliner train traffic resumed on Wednesday evening.

The Montecito Fire Protection District did not say which way the train was going and Amtrak workers would not comment.

Investigators stayed in the area for hours.

Some took measurements near the blood-stained rocks by the tracks.

In response to Your News Channels request for comment, Amtrak's Senior Public Relations Manager Olivia Irvin issued the following statement:

On Wednesday, June 19, 2024 at approximately 1:40pm, Pacific Surfliner train 769 struck a trespasser in the community of Montecito between Carpinteria and Santa Barbara stations. This was a confirmed fatality involving a minor. The strike occurred on single track. Local law enforcement and emergency personnel responded. There have been no reported injuries to the crew or 186 passengers onboard. Crew requested and was granted relief at the scene. Amtrak police department is working with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department to investigate the incident. 

Preventing incidents and fatalities on the railroad is a priority for the LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency and Amtrak. According to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), trespassing along railroad rights-of-way is the leading cause of rail-related deaths in America, and railroad-highway grade crossing incidents are the second leading cause of rail-related deaths in America. These incidents can affect everyone involved—those who are injured or die and their families, our train crews, and our passengers. They also serve as critical reminders about the importance of obeying the law and of exercising extreme caution around railroad tracks and grade crossings. The LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency and Amtrak continue to work closely with Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI) to #STOPTrackTragedies by emphasizing the obvious dangers of being on railroad property or disregarding warnings at rail crossings. For more railroad safety information, please visit

Union Pacific responded to Your News Channel's request for comment with the following statement Wednesday:

Safety is Union Pacific's number one priority, and we urge pedestrians to only cross railroad tracks at designated crossings. Our Public Affairs team was recently made aware of the community's concerns. Our team will work with the community to discuss and consider any requests the community might propose to address trespassers on Union Pacific property.

Robyn Tysver, Union Pacific
Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County
Montecito Fire Protection District
train versus person

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