One person was killed and another was injured by a moving Union Pacific train late Tuesday afternoon in Nogales, apparently after falling off the train shortly after it crossed the border from Mexico.
Nogales Fire Chief Jeff Sargent said his department received a call at 4:49 p.m. on Tuesday related to a “possible fatality.”
He said that two women were found in the area of the train tracks behind CSL Plasma, in the Food City Plaza. One woman was pronounced dead at the scene and NFD transported the other to Holy Cross Hospital and she was later airlifted to Tucson.
According to a dispatch report, the Nogales Police Department also received a call about the incident, and officers responding to the scene said that “one is completely under the train.”
NPD declined to provide additional information on the incident, however, saying it assisted at the scene but deferred to Union Pacific’s own police force to investigate.
“We didn’t investigate,” said NPD Cpl. Oscar Mesta, the department’s spokesman. “It was on their property and they took over the investigation.”
A call to a Union Pacific emergency hotline seeking information on the incident was referred to a corporate relations spokesman, who issued the following statement:
“At around 4:45 p.m. MST March 24, two female trespassers fell from a moving railcar of a Union Pacific train, resulting in fatal injuries to one trespasser and injuries to the second trespasser, who was transported to University Medical Hospital. The crew was not injured.”
In response to a follow-up question, the spokesman said he did not have additional information about the two people involved in the incident.
Sargent, the fire chief, said he did not know the citizenship of either woman, but said the woman who was transported to Tucson was in her mid-20s.
As to whether UP police might turn the investigation over to an independent law enforcement agency, the company spokesman said: “Union Pacific is working jointly with the Nogales Police Department and Customs and Border Protection on the investigation.”
A spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection said that neither CBP nor the Border Patrol were involved in the incident.
The train appeared to have crossed the U.S.-Mexico border through the Dennis DeConcini Port of Entry prior to the incident. It remained stopped in the area of the Court Street and Banks Bridge crossings, blocking traffic, before heading north shortly before 6 p.m.