Athens-Clarke police said William Thomas was lying on the CSX railroad tracks near Cleveland Road when the train ran over him shortly before 5:30 p.m.
Investigators are trying to determine whether the man had passed out from intoxication or committed suicide.
Thomas, who was wanted on two felony probation warrants and had an odor of alcohol on his body, had a history of acting suicidal, according to police.
Police said he had cans of beer in his pockets and officers found an open can of beer where he was struck.
The man was somewhat of a transient, police said. He had identification that gave a Watkinsville address, but he also sometimes lived with his brother at Knights Bridge Mobile Home Park on Lone Star Drive.
The brother’s home is not far from where Thomas died.
The train’s engineer first thought there was an animal on the tracks, but the train was moving too fast to stop before it ran over the man, police said.