2 people die in separate Calif. train collisions

AP News
Posted: Dec 31, 2009 6:31 PM

Two people died in separate collisions with Northern California commuter trains Thursday, making 2009 the deadliest year for Caltrain since 1995.

Caltrain spokeswoman Christine Dunn said the deaths bring to 19 the number of people killed this year crossing Caltrain's tracks, which run south from San Francisco to San Jose and beyond. Twenty were killed in 1995.

Thursday's first victim was a woman who was hit by a train and killed as she crossed the tracks in Santa Clara at about 5:50 a.m.

San Jose fire Capt. Barry Stallard said a man driving a small pickup truck died at about 8:50 a.m. when he drove around another vehicle and past the lowered crossing gates near downtown San Jose. His truck was hit by the train as he drove onto the tracks.

Authorities have not released the victims' identities.

Of the 19 deaths this year, six have been ruled suicides and one an accident. Causes in the year's remaining 12 deaths haven't been determined. In 2008, 12 of the 16 people who died on Caltrain tracks committed suicide.

Four teens stepped in front of commuter trains in Palo Alto during a six-month period this year, leading to stepped-up prevention efforts. The city is raising funds to hire a security firm to monitor the crossing where the students died and is also planning to install brighter lights at the same crossing.

Caltrain officials said officers on regular track patrols have intervened in suicide attempts many times.


Information from: San Jose Mercury News, http://www.sjmercury.com