A 24-year-old man died Monday morning after being struck by a Union Pacific freight liner in Benson.

Benson Police Chief Paul Moncada identified the victim as Michael Akins, whom the chief described as a recent Benson resident. Authorities are trying to determine his state of mind at the time of his death, said Moncada.

Akins, who was on foot, was struck shortly before 10 a.m. just east of town.

Moncada said authorities received report of the incident from Union Pacific crew members at 9:56 a.m. Akins, who had lived in Benson a few months, was on the railroad’s southern set of tracks. He was hit by the westbound train east of the Old Airport Road railroad crossing and west of the underpass in mid Benson. It remains unknown why Akins was on the tracks, the chief, citing UPRR video, said. He noted the victim did not take “evasive action.”

Moncada said authorities are seeking to speak to anyone who may have had contact with Akins in the days or hours prior to his death to gather insight as to his state of mind. Anyone who may be able to provide information should call police at (520) 586-2211, said Moncada.

The chief said an autopsy is scheduled and would be conducted in the office of the Pima County Medical Examiner’s Office. Toxicology results are expected in six to eight weeks, the chief said, noting that may reveal if drug or alcohol impairment were contributing factors.

Next of kin notifications were made in Texas, Moncada said. The incident drew a multi-agency response. Benson police cleared the scene at about 1:30 p.m., the chief said.

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