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Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
26 January 2005
Los Angeles area, California, United States
Eleven people were killed and about 200 were injured in an accident involving two passenger trains near downtown Los Angeles early this morning, emergency authorities said. One of the Metrolink commuter trains struck a passenger vehicle before sideswiping the second train and plowing into a parked freight train, officials said. One of the train cars caught fire in the accident and another rolled to its side in the crash, which occurred just after 6 a.m. local time. Emergency teams were picking through the debris of the crash and could be seen carrying some victims away on stretchers.
27 January 2005. A suicidal man who allegedly parked his SUV in the path of a commuter train and triggered a horrific wreck that killed 11 people was charged with murder and could face the death penalty, authorities said today. The criminal case moved forward against Juan Manuel Alvarez as police and forensics experts worked to gather evidence from the crime scene and coroner’s investigators searched the tangled wreckage for any remaining body parts. Prosecutors have not decided if they will seek the death penalty against Alvarez, who had been ordered by a court to stay away from his family after his wife alleged he abused drugs and threatened them. Authorities say he also had slashed his wrists and stabbed himself at some point during his aborted suicide attempt. He remained hospitalised today, and a court hearing was set for tomorrow. District Attorney Steve Cooley said thursday prosecutors were evaluating Alvarez’s mental state in deciding a possible punishment, but he asserted that the man’s mental issues were no defence. Authorities say Alvarez drove his green Jeep Cherokee into the path of a Metrolink commuter train early yesterday. He then changed his mind and got out of the vehicle just before the Jeep was struck by a train heading to Los Angeles, police said. That train derailed, crashed into a parked freight train and struck another train heading in the opposite direction. The second train also derailed. Alvarez was charged with ten counts of murder, but another count was to be added following the discovery of an 11th body in the mangled trains. Everyone from the crash was accounted for today. More than 180 people were injured, including seven who were in critical condition today. Meanwhile, police began collecting forensic evidence from the scene for the prosecution, using laser measuring devices to create a digital map of the wreckage. Two large cargo containers were brought into store evidence. Police Sgt Tom Lorenz said evidence as large as a rail car may be preserved for the investigation and trial.
31 January 2005. Los Angeles commuter train service have resumed this morning following last week’s deadly train crash in Glendale. Metrolink officials say a full service from Union Station in central Los Angeles to Ventura County and the Antelope Valley was restored starting at 4:00 hours. The service was suspended to allow the repair of damaged track after Wednesday’s (26 January) crash that killed eleven and injured about 180 passengers. Both lines operated on a partial schedule Thursday (27 January) and Friday (28 January), when buses were used to detour passengers around a section of the damaged tracks.
4 February 2005
Kanhan, Maharashtra State, India
A train smashed into a trailer carrying wedding guests at a crossing in western India yesterday, killing at least 52 people and injuring ten others, a railway official and witnesses said. According to an official, the accident occurred because the tractor driver failed to see the oncoming train before crossing the tracks. The dead included 30 women and ten children. The accident occurred near Kanhan, a small town in Maharashtra state, 800 km north-east of Bombay, when a train bound for the central Indian city of Nagpur collided with a trailer being pulled by a tractor that was crossing the tracks, said a spokesman for South-Eastern Central Railway. He said that of the 30 people in the trailer, 19 died. At least three vehicles full of wedding guests had climbed the slope that led to the crossing, when the last vehicle, the tractor pulling the trailer, drove up. The tractor crossed but the train rammed into the trailer. Bodies were tossed up and then crushed under the wheels. Rail crossings in India require an attendant to manually raise and lower the guard gates. However, the crossing where the accident occurred was not manned. He said no one was injured on the train, which did not derail despite the impact. Traffic was shut down on the track and passengers were moved to another train, officials said. The passenger train was travelling at about 70 km/h and the driver applied the emergency brakes, said the railways spokesman. The accident occurred because the tractor driver failed to see the oncoming train.