Around 1:40 p.m. Wednesday a motorcyclist traveling southbound on State Route 347 was killed when he apparently struck a descending barricade arm. Maricopa Police spokesman Ricardo Alvarado said the male rider apparently tried to beat the train and slid across the tracks before striking the backside of the barricade south of the tracks.
The motocyclist was identified as 71-year-old Maricopa resident Timothy Schickedanz.
Lou Piccadaci witnessed the accident from the north side of the tracks.
“The barriers were coming down on the train, the guy skidded,” said Piccadaci. “He saw them too late, lost control from the skid, hit the barrier … it’s all over.”
According to Piccadaci and Maricopa Police, the victim was not struck by the train.
“The train came by five seconds later,” Piccadaci said. “This could’ve been even a little worse; I don’t know how it could get any worse.”
“That train wasn’t able to stop; had to wait until the train went by to see what happened,” said the witness, who was on the north side of the tracks. “There was blood everywhere. It’s one thing to see it after, but to see it happen … definitely something I won’t forget."
Piccadaci said the victim was wearing a helmet at the time of the collision, and he questioned whether the motorcyclist had time to react.
“The train arms were coming down. The lights start flashing, then the train. I don’t think he had that much of a warning before those arms started coming down. Usually the arms come down and about a minute later then the train’s coming, but the train came awful quick.”“Trains are stopped and traffic is restricted,” said Maricopa Fire Chief Wade Brannon. Porter Road, which is two miles east of SR 347, is the suggested alternate north-south route across the railroad tracks.
MPD’s Alvarado said the investigation will take at least another hour or two and suggests avoiding the area. “Patience is what we’re asking.”