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Construction May Have Contributed to Deadly Train Accident

Deirnesa Jefferson6 months ago

Some are wondering whether construction in the San Leandro, California area contributed to a deadly accident on Washington Ave. 

Details about the Fatal Accident 

ABC News 7 is reporting that Vanessa Henriquez, 30, and her daughter Saidy Henriquez, 3, were killed when an Amtrak train plowed into their SUV on Washington Avenue. Henriqez was stopped on the train tracks, but only because there was an unusual amount of traffic due to PG&E construction in the area. 

A PG&E crew was working in the area and had signs out funneling traffic down to one lane, just past the train crossing. Henriquez's vehicle was backed up in traffic and its front-end was apparently on the tracks when the crossing gates lowered and the train approached.

Another driver, Lilla Magee stopped in the same spot just two hours earlier. “Honestly, before this crash even, I just had this feeling like this is bad. You really have to be on your toes to not get caught on the tracks,” she said.

PG&E offered condolences to the Henriquez family and issued a statement saying: “While the incident is currently under investigation by local authorities, at this point, this incident doesn't appear to be directly related to any PG&E work in the area.”

What Drivers Should be Aware of at a Railroad Crossing 

According to Operation Life Saver 

  • By the time a locomotive engineer sees a vehicle on the tracks it's too late. It takes the average freight train traveling at 55 mph more than a mile—the length of 18 football fields—to stop. Trains cannot stop quickly enough to avoid a collision.
  • The average locomotive weighs about 400,000 pounds or 200 tons; it can weigh up to 6,000 tons. This makes the weight ratio of a car to a train proportional to that of a soda can to a car. 
  • Today's trains are quieter than ever, producing no telltale “clackety-clack.” Any approaching train is always closer, moving faster, than you think.

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