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Music fueled lives of 2 killed in Amtrak collision

Zachary Keene.

Brittany Hathaway

Zachary Keene.

On any given weekend at Fusion Bar and Night Club in Foxborough, it was up to David Curry and Zachary Keene to fill the place with music and make sure it sounded great.

Curry was the DJ and Keene was the audio engineer. Together, they brought the nightspot’s music to life until closing time.  But the last time they were together, officials say their night came to a tragic end as the 2000 Land Rover they were in inexplicably ended up on railroad tracks in Mansfield between the Gilbert Street and Elm Street overpasses. That is where the sport utility vehicle was struck from behind by a Northeast Regional Amtrak train that may have been traveling at more than 100 miles per hour, authorities said.

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The crash Sunday night killed Curry, 28, of Foxborough, and Keene, 26, of Raynham. Mansfield police released their names Wednesday, but are withholding the name of a woman who was also killed in the SUV, pending further forensic testing, Lieutenant Sam Thompson said in a statement.

“We all worked together for years at the club,” Fusion’s entertainment manager, James McLaughlin, said of Keene and Curry. “Zak would run the sound for live bands. Dave would DJ during the breaks and do the announcements. They worked together well as a team. It was a real good time.”

Curry set himself apart as a DJ because he knew sound so well, McLaughlin said.

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“He really got the whole entertainment picture,” he said. “As far as live music goes, he understood the sound, how to entertain the crowd.”

Officials have said that they do not know where the vehicle got onto the tracks and that the SUV was in an area where there are no crossings. Officials have not said why they think the SUV was on the tracks.

None of the 222 Amtrak passengers was hurt in the accident, and the train remained upright even after it derailed, about 14 miles west of Route 128, Craig Schulz, an Amtrak spokesman, said Monday.

Two of Keene’s friends, Nicholas Hathaway and Lee Ellis, recalled watching him perform Saturday night at Stoneforge Tavern and Publick House in Raynham.

Keene was playing bass guitar with a band called Matt Borrello and the Quality Dogs in front of a packed crowd that had gathered on the restaurant patio to enjoy the beautiful weather on the summer solstice. Keene’s parents were among the patrons in the audience, his friends said.

“It was probably the best gig I’ve seen him play in a long time,” said Hathaway, an East Bridgewater resident who has known Keene since high school. “He played brilliantly.”

Keene was so talented, his friends said, that he was able to support himself entirely by working in the music industry doing sound engineering, performing, and refurbishing instruments. He had even lined up a job doing the sound for Cheap Trick at a concert slated for later this summer at the House of Blues, they said.

“He was living his dream,” said Ellis, a 25-year-old Raynham resident who has known Keene since they were in elementary school. “How many people do you know that could support themselves and make a living off of music, off of their own talent?”

Keene loved the jazz musician and bassist Jaco Pastorius, Wilco, Jimi Hendrix, and The Beatles, his friends said. He performed in a Beatles cover band called The Xeatles with his father, who is a guitarist, Ellis said. “The last month was really the best month of his career,” Hathaway said. “He was really reaping the fruits of a lot of labor and he was really at the top of his game.”

On Saturday at Stoneforge Tavern, Keene was still performing when Hathaway and Ellis were heading out.

“We were both trying to say goodbye to Zak. We had to shout at him. He turned toward us and . . . gave us a nod and a smile,” Hathaway said. “He was having a great time with his life. I didn’t think there were any regrets on his part.”

Mike Bello of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Laura Crimaldi can be reached at laura.crimaldi@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @lauracrimaldi.
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