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California car-train collision leaves three dead

A weekend collision between a sport-utility vehicle and a California light rail train has resulted in three fatalities and multiple injuries, according to law enforcement authorities. Although police and local transit officials continue to investigate the fatal accident, they believe that the SUV drove around the crossing arms and onto the track just before it was struck by the train.

The accident occurred at about 4:15 on Saturday, when the light rail train had about 50 passengers on board. As it was crossing an intersection, the train struck an SUV on the tracks, pushing the vehicle about 30 yards before coming to a stop.

The 62-year-old male driver was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, as was a 25-year-old female passenger. A 21-month-old boy in the vehicle was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment, but he was soon pronounced dead. A fourth passenger was also transported to a hospital, where she was said to be in stable condition. Six passengers from the train also suffered injuries necessitating hospital treatment, and they were placed in fair condition following the crash.

In the initial investigation into the fatal crash, police and transit officials viewed the video surveillance tape of the intersection at which the accident occurred. The video footage showed that the crossing arms and signals were working properly at the time of the crash. Police have reportedly deduced that the SUV drove around the crossing arms after a freight train had crossed the intersection, seemingly believing that there were no additional trains coming.

Source: News 10, "3 dead after SUV collides with light rail train," Amy Jacobson Kurokawa, Jan. 30, 2012

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