A man was hospitalized in critical condition after being hit by a freight train in Little Italy Wednesday morning.
According to sheriff's investigators two men in their late 20s, early 30s were walking back from the bars downtown after a night of drinking.
One of them doesn't recall the specifics of what happened but remembers seeing a train and then seeing his friend on the ground deputies said.
Officials say the victim was hit by a slow-moving BNSF freight train, traveling about 7-10 miles per hour.
The train's engineer wasn't even aware that the man had been struck.
The victim was taken to UCSD medical center with serious injuries to his left leg.
“When you see lights flashing, which in this case the lights were flashing, the arms were down, do not go on the tracks,” said San Diego County Sheriff’s Deputy Brenda Wiebe.
“Also, trains extend over the tracks several feet on each side so even though you may be walking adjacent to the track, you still need to at least three feet on each side for the width of the train as well as for the air current. You can easily get pulled into the train."
The tracks were shut down near Cedar and Kettner for about an hour and a half during the investigation.
Delays are not expected for morning rail commuters but officials say freight trains could be backed up for hundreds of miles.
One of the trains caught up in that delay was with the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus.
Several clown cars are tied up and may be unable to take part in the annual circus parade planned for downtown Wednesday.