UPDATE: Man Killed by Amtrak Train ID'ed

Dan Tavarez, 59, was hit by the Pacific Surfliner Monday afternoon.

A 59-year-old man was killed by an Amtrak train Monday on the beachfront rail tracks in San Clemente, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

The Pacific Surfliner train was heading from Los Angeles to San Diego when it hit the man around 4:20 p.m. near Camino Capistrano and El Camino Real. The man was declared dead at the scene.

He was later identified as Dan Tavarez, a 59-year-old San Clemente resident.

Witnesses said Tavarez walked in front of the train, but it was not clear if he had done so intentionally.

Buses were brought in to take passengers onto their destinations. The tracks were closed to Amtrak and Metrolink trains until at least 8 p.m. for investigations.

-City News Service

Correction: Because of incorrect information provided by a source, Tavarez' last name was misspelled in an earlier version of this article. Patch regrets the error.

Tava December 26, 2012 at 02:32 AM
He hasn't had a drink in 9 years, his hearing is fine. He had stopped to pay tribute to a 911 Memorial on the other side of the tracks. This train is pushed, engine in the back, not pulled, so not loud. Google it and you'll see he is the 7th person since July to die between O'side and SJC, he has a slight limp and he miscalculated. He was happy and said people who commit suicide are "pussys". He also had guns and was a pilot, this isn't they way he would choose to go. Accident.
thejellyfish December 26, 2012 at 03:31 AM
I am so very sorry for your loss. If he had crossed the tracks at a crossing, he would have had to see the blinking red lights, the crossing gates and the train horn. The sound of the train horn is at the same decibal level if the locomotive is at the front of the train or if the locomotive is at the rear of the train. If your brother crossed anyplace else other than a legal train crossing, of course then he would have been trespassing on the railroad property. Again, I am sorry for your loss.
Patricia Gatacre December 26, 2012 at 07:44 PM
Mr. Tavares sounds like a man who had much to live for...his brother must be grieving terribly. Was his limp due to an injury incurred while in the military? It's hardly the moment to be talking about legalities such as trespassing...I might well have done the same on Christmas Eve if I were visiting the memorial on the beach. As a kid I played on the tracks but kept a sharp eye on what was ahead of and behind me. My condolences go out to his family. Perhaps it IS time to investigate safety issues along the railroad tracks -- this would be a moral matter for Amtrak attorneys to contemplate as prevention of such needless accidents.
B. Miller December 27, 2012 at 03:20 PM
At the 911 Memorial there is a below ground stairwell to access the beach. It goes underneath the train tracks. Did he not know it was there?
Scott S December 27, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Dan was into muscle cars. I went to the Barret Jackson auction with him and another buddy a couple of years ago. Dan also owned drywall company and flew helicopters. Everyone knew him as Helicopter Dan. A good guy. This is a very sad accident. Rest in peace.
Patricia Gatacre December 27, 2012 at 06:02 PM
The underground stairwell has provided safe access to the beach for decades and IS very visible. Crossing the tracks requires that a decision be made...we'll likely never know Tavares state of mind when he stepped onto the tracks. My husband and I drove home from the Mall along PCH on Christmas Eve and saw two passenger trains stopped on the tracks, police and a tow truck were present also. The scene felt ominous, owing to the many people who DO experience extreme depression at Christmas. Tavares has been on my mind and I'd like to know more about this man who, whether by accident or choice, ended his life on Christmas Eve.
Michael December 27, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Tava, I am so sorry for your loss. I represented Dan recently in regards to a worksite accident and I agree that he would never have taken his own life. Though we only knew each other for a few years, he left a lasting impression on me. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Scott S December 27, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Yes, I am sure Dan knew about the underpass. Guys who fly tend to go over things rather than under them. It was around 4:30, and if I remember correctly, the sunset was a good one that day. Dan probably just didn't hear the train coming or misjudged the speed. You can be sure, if Dan could help you, he would. Everyone who knows Dan cannot beleive this has happened.
nelg32 December 27, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Very sad to hear about Dan. He was quite the character. Knew him for over 30 years. He had overcome many challenges the last few years. Can't imagine it was anything other than a tragic accident.
Smokey Bear December 28, 2012 at 06:02 AM
The last time I saw the stairwell, the gate was locked & people were just crossing the street to go to that beach. Several times that I was at that gas station, that gate was locked. Did anyone happen to notice that it was locked that particular day?
B. Miller December 28, 2012 at 06:29 AM
The stairwell I'm referring to is on the beach side (west side) of the street and across the street from the gas station. Once you've crossed the street, the stairs are just south of the intersection and you actually walk underneath the train tracks to the beach. I don't know about stairs by the gas station but the people you see crossing the street are then going down the stairs.
Teresa December 28, 2012 at 07:43 PM
The gated stairwell by the gas station has not been used in years due to the underground walkway (only the portion underneath PCH) being closed. The only way to get to the beach is to cross at the gas station and go to the stairwell on other side and go underneath the train tracks.
Denis Hebert December 28, 2012 at 10:49 PM
I have known Dan for 50 years, and can't believe this happened. I spent time with Dan at the car show in September. All was good at that time, and I would have ne reason to believe anything was different the day of his accident. I, along with many others will miss him, his wit, etc. He was always there to lend a hand, or opinion. My condolences to his family. Rest in peace my friend!! Denis
Tava December 29, 2012 at 07:40 PM
My brother did not take his life intentionally. He was happy, had just bought groceries and had new furniture about to be delivered. We had just buried both of our parents on Nov 30, but that was after years of illness and that funeral was closure. Dan had work, friends, a new Truck and was remodeling his home. He was closer to his siblings than ever. Yes, I think he knew about the underpass so yes he was "trespassing". But that is his sin, not suicide. He has a bit of a limp. When at the scene 2 days ago I couldn't believe that the train was there before I heard it coming and that spot is sort of at a bend. I don't blame the RR. We can't fence the world, we can't blow horns and disturb everyone's peace. Just so tragic for this man who had struggled for years and had finally gotten to the best place he had been in years. I am heartbroken.
Tava December 29, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Denis, we will have something special for Danny is about a month. I will let you know.
Tava December 29, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Thank you Scott, yes Dan was a good guy. This was a sad accident. I will post something when we have a service.
Tava December 29, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Eight deaths since July from North SD to SJC does seem like too many. When we were there 2 days ago parents with small kids walked over the tracks. My brother told them about the underpass. The Mom said, "oh the train just passed, we'll be fine". Seconds after they crossed another train came from the other direction. I don't know the answer, maybe a list of people killed on the tracks who didn't think it could happen to them. Better signage? I am his only sister and I won't be the same. Heartbroken.
B. Miller December 29, 2012 at 08:59 PM
Tava, this is just such a very sad story. My sincere condolences to you and your family. Unfortunately, each time we read about a similar circumstance resulting on a death on the RR tracks, we've become conditioned to assume a suicide. But it's always a tragedy, regardless of whether accidental or intentional. Your brother's accidental death is heartbreaking.
Patricia Gatacre December 30, 2012 at 02:06 AM
Tava: Thank you for sharing more information about your brother and the triple tragedy you must be experiencing. Even after years of illness I don't feel we are ever "ready" to say goodbye to our parents. I lost my Mom 8 years ago and my Dad 18 years ago. Never a Christmas goes by that I don't provide floral tributes to how much they are loved and missed every day of my life. I can only imagine what you must be going through. We drove by where the trains were stopped on Christmas Eve and saw a tow truck with a white truck loaded onto it and wondered -- in the cold, pretty night -- what could have happened. Now I know. My husband and I wish you peace, comfort and the presence of friends and family who loved Dan. My prayers are with you.
Evan Edelman December 30, 2012 at 02:33 AM
should of sign in first. I thank all of you who left a comment about my dear brother Danny. I am his baby brother Evan and I will miss him dearly.He and I lived together in San Clemente and I know how happy he was to be apart of that Community. Though that was many years ago it will be some of the funnest memories of my life.I just wish for the future this will not happen to another soul.Dear father in Heaven please comfort my Brothers and my Sister. Give us the your Strength and power to overcome this pain that we are feeling at this time.May the Holy Spirit fill us and put your love and grace back in our lives. I ask all these things in your Son name Jesus Christ. Amen
Tava December 30, 2012 at 02:47 AM
Patricia, thank you for your Grace and sympathy. I appreciate your compassion. I wanted people to see the truth. We are all so heartbroken. Hi Evan, was just thinking about you. Please stay inside in bubblewrap until this crap of a year is over. I'm so nervous about all our loved ones. I can't believe we've lost him. I will call you in a few.
John December 30, 2012 at 05:55 AM
Tava, John here. We met a couple times at the Saturday morning get-together down in Monarch Bay. Dan was a regular down there and will be missed. I am very sorry about this tragic event that has taken place. The car guys paid tribute to Dan this morning with a reserved parking spot, flowers and a framed portrait of Dan standing next to his Chevelle. As you know, he had so many close friends from the car hobby. I would like to get this framed photo to you. Can you contact me when you have time? John rodology@gmail.com
Ron Johnson December 30, 2012 at 06:00 AM
I've known Dan for the better part of 30 years and was just stuned to read this article about his death. My association with Dan has always been through a business association as a supplier of materials. But with anything Dan was involved with business and personal lives soon intertwine to friendships. Please let all of us who would like to be a part of any memorial or wake or get togather celebrating Dans life by putting in this comment page. Ron Johnson
Tava December 30, 2012 at 07:48 AM
Thank you Ron and John. We want to do something special for Danny, but it will be a couple of weeks. We are all still reeling. Our parents Memorial service was just Nov 30th. And we got this news Christmas morning. Without getting too graphic, due to the nature of the accident the coroner has had to keep him and he won't be ready for awhile. I really do want the car club's input on how to honor Dan. I will email you John. And my name is Diane Tavarez, TAVA is my blog and posting handle. Thank you everyone.
Patricia Gatacre December 30, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Tava (and Brothers): Thankfully, you have each other which I hope brings you solace at this time. Take care and do what you can to enjoy the warmth and love that pulls you together as a family. God bless you all and keep you safe in the new year.
titan January 04, 2013 at 10:14 PM
Dan was a good friend of mine. I spoke to him days earlier and he was very happy. I will miss him dearly. My the Lord take him, in his arms. God bless you Dan. I will miss you Titan
Heather Hudson January 16, 2013 at 01:49 AM
Dan you crazy guy. I know you would never take your own life. We rode that train to SD together a few times with friends. You were only trying to help someone else. May you rest in peace, and my love and prayers for your family and friends. -Karen Please let us know if there is or was a service for Dan. Thank you
Shaun Clifton January 16, 2013 at 02:26 AM
Clifton Boyz Dan was a great man. A very close friend of the the Clifton Boyz. We knew him very well and know for a fact he would never take his own life, he loved life to much. Always talking about the good things in life. A man that will be missed by all......." He was mighty pleased with your life on earth, that you did your best and proved your worth, so step off your horse , and tie on up, your friends are waiting to pour you a cup." God bless you my friend!!!! Forever, Shaun Clifton,John Clifton,Cody Clifton, and Bob Morris .
Tava January 16, 2013 at 07:49 AM
Thanks Clifton Boyz and Heather. If you want to join us for his Clelbration of life on Sunday Jan 20, noon at Hapa J's on El Camino Real we would love to meet you. Looking for a singer to volunteer to sign The Lord's Pray A Cappella before the start, does anyone know someone who can do that? Thanks
Tava January 23, 2013 at 04:51 PM
http://www.ocregister.com/news/tavarez-408702-club-dan.html For those who thought he was a selfish ass who would harm himself or others, please see how many came to Celebrate his life and generosity. Everyone there knew this was an accident.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something