"He was already on the tracks," recalled Zandra Guiten-Bellard, whose car was second in the line of vehicles waiting behind the crossing gate on Gilman Street about 10:35 a.m. as the onrushing train approached. "He had a cart."
"He might have froze. The horn was honking and the lights were flashing."
"The train came and hit him," she said. "His leg flew up in the air."
She immediately swerved over, threw her car in park and jumped out, with the engine still running.
The man was on the ground, rolling around, still breathing, blood streaming from his leg, she said.
Another driver from the line of cars, Sean Stallmeyer, rushed up.
"I need a tourniquet," Stallmeyer said, according to Guiten-Bellard.
"I said, 'Here, take my belt,'" Guiten-Bellard said. She took off her belt, and Stallmeyer used it to stanch the bleeding, she said.
The man's leg was taken off below the knee, said Avery Webb, acting deputy chief of the Berkeley Fire Department. The man remained conscious during the ordeal and was transported to the trauma center at Highland Hospital by fire department ambulance, Webb said.
Guiten-Bellard, a commercial insurance broker who lives in Capay Valley in Yolo County, said she received a call from Berkeley police the next day saying the man was okay and that he had been saved by the quick action by Stallmeyer and her.
"They said that what Sean and I did saved his life," she said.
Patch spoke to Guiten-Bellard by phone Thursday night and has put in a request to Stallmeyer asking for his account.
When Patch spoke to Webb Wednesday, he didn't have details or names of who was involved at that time. "Apparently there was a bystander that applied a tourniquet and possibly saved his life," he said then.
The train was going fast, Guiten-Bellard said, adding that it didn't appear as though the man was intending to get hit. He wasn't positioned squarely in front of the train, she said.
"If the man had just moved a little bit more, he wouldn't have been hit," she said.
She said she couldn't tell if he was a transient. She said his clothes and body were clean.
In response to a request from Patch about what the train engineer witnessed, Amtrak spokeswoman Vernae Graham said the railroad doesn't provide that information.
The train was the westbound San Joaquin #711 traveling from Bakersfield to Oakland, Graham said.
"The gates, bells and flashers were all operating at the time of the incident," she in an email response to Patch. "None of the 63 passengers or crew onboard were injured."
The maximum track speed through the area is 79 mph, she said, adding that she did not know what speed the train was going at the time of impact.
The train was halted, and passengers were transported by bus, BART or other trains, she said.
Posted Oct. 11, 2013, 12:10 a.m., updated 11:02 a.m.
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