Information released Monday evening, May 31, confirms that the person hit and killed by a train last Wednesday near the downtown Amtrak station was 22-year-old SBBC student Stanford Heath Allison Jr. According to an online article in the Gaston Gazette, Allison was a native of Belmont, North Carolina, and had graduated from a private high school in nearby Charlotte. He was reportedly living in a downtown Santa Barbara hotel while attending City College. (Original police reports put Allison at 23 years old.)
According to statements issued by city police spokesperson Lt. Paul McCaffrey, Allison was struck and killed by an Amtrak passenger train — in full view of a number of schoolchildren — as it made its way into the station. He had reportedly walked around the dropped traffic control arms and onto the tracks within the busy intersection. Medical responders determined that Allison died at the scene.
The Gaston Gazette goes on to quote McCaffrey: “It was a very unfortunate set of circumstances, to say the least,” he said, and he expected the results of a toxicology screen to show that neither drugs nor alcohol was a factor in the incident. McCaffrey also noted that there have been a few people recently killed by trains in that area. “It’s maybe the fourth [fatality] we’ve had near there in the last couple of years,” he is reported to have said. Lastly, McCaffrey cited studies that say people often misjudge the speed of a large object when it’s coming straight at them.
Allison’s family and close friends are holding a memorial service on Tuesday, June 1. The Gazzete said Allison’s obituary described him as a beloved family member and friend who often made others laugh. Those who knew him said he was a gifted person with talents in a number of different areas, most notably in art, music, and drama. “He was a wide open, spiritual personality whose passion and concern for others touched many,” according to the obituary. “He had deep faith in God’s love and respect for His creation.”
Allison is survived by his parents and his brother and sister.