Woman killed in Palo Alto train crashBy Staff
One person is dead following a Caltrain accident in south Palo Alto in which an older model maroon Toyota Camry was hit at the railroad crossing at West Meadow Drive and Alma Street.
A 911 call was received at approximately 4:40 p.m. Thursday, according to Palo Alto Police Officer Max Nielepko.
Police said a woman drove onto the tracks eastbound as the crossing guards came down. Witnesses said the woman got caught by a crossing barrier arm, then may have tried to beat the train across the tracks. Her car was then hit by the northbound 4:37 p.m. Caltrain baby bullet from Mountain View. The impact carried the car a half-mile to a mile.
Traffic on Alma Street at Meadow was snarled due to the accident,and officers closed the crossing at West Meadow to even pedestrians and bicylists. Caltrain schedules were reportedly disrupted by more than two hours.
One witness, John O'Neill, said he was stopped directly in front of the other car at the signal at East Meadow and Alma. He said his 15-year-old daughter, Oona, saw the Camry pull partially onto the tracks when the lights and bells went on and the crossing arms began coming down.
O'Neill said Oona exclaimed, "Oh, that car has pulled too far out," and that the crossing arm had come down across the middle of its roof -- indicating the driver possibly may have panicked and lurched forward into the path of the high-speed commuter train.
"The light went green and I pulled out and turned left onto Alma, and we heard the crunch," O'Neill said. They parked and ran back to the intersection, but there was only a door and a speaker on the tracks.
The car had attached itself to the train and was being pushed along the tracks sideways, he said, creating a loud screeching sound of metal on metal. He said neighbors came out thinking the train had derailed.
Copyright ©2007 Palo Alto Weekly. Published 06/28/2007.