DEL MAR — A North County jury has ruled there were no dangerous conditions on a portion of the railway in Del Mar that contributed to a 19-year-old Poway resident being struck and killed by a train in 2016.
The 11-1 ruling, issued by the jury on Sept. 22, concluded a five-year case initiated by the family of victim Javad Hedayatzadeh in 2017, who argued the lack of efforts to keep residents off the railway maintained by the North County Transit District led to the young man’s death.
Hedayatzadeh accessed the train tracks in September 2016 at the end of 13th Street, where a guardrail prevents vehicle access to the right-of-way but can be easily accessed by pedestrians. According to court documents, the decedent had smoked cannabis with two friends on the west side of the tracks.
Hedayatzadeh then told his friends he was going to take a selfie as the Burlington Northern Santa Fe train passed before he was struck and killed. Law enforcement at the time said the conductor activated the train’s horn and bright lights prior to the collision but the teens did not move off the tracks.
Both BNSF and the city of Del Mar were named as defendants in the lawsuit, but successfully petitioned to be dropped from the case.
NCTD representatives declined to comment on the case. Legal representatives for the Hedayatzadeh family did not respond to a request for comment.
Throughout the case, Hedayatzadeh’s family argued that more action should have been taken to prevent pedestrians from accessing the railway below 13th street, one of several popular access points down to the beach.
Access to Del Mar’s beaches via the Coaster right-of-way has long been a point of contention between the city’s residents and NCTD, which is seeking to implement fencing along portions of the bluffs to prevent pedestrian access and further fatalities on the tracks.