Anchorage man dies when struck by Amtrak train

Posted: Friday, September 14, 2001

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) -- A Fresno City College football player was killed when he was struck by an Amtrak train.

Junior Puletapuai, 20, of Anchorage, Alaska, died at the scene Thursday afternoon.

Witnesses said the freshman and his cousins were trying to run across railroad tracks near campus when he was struck. The cousins stopped short of the tracks, but Puletapuai tried to cross, said coach Tony Caviglia.

''I saw him go for it and the train was already in the intersection,'' said student Adriana Soto. ''I didn't know he was hit until I saw his body fly.''

Caviglia said the 6-foot-3, 330-pound freshman -- the biggest player on the team -- had dreamed of playing in the NFL.

Shocked and saddened teammates gathered in the locker room near Ratcliffe Stadium after the incident.

Teammate Caleb Bravo, who had been with Puletapuai earlier in the day, cried on a curb outside the locker room.

''He was a great guy, kindhearted and gentle,'' Bravo said.

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