Train Derails Near Los Angeles, At Least 9 Dead

9 killed as trains derail near Los Angeles (CNN)

Photo:At least nine people are dead after a collision today involving two Los Angeles Metrolink commuter trains, a parked Union Pacific train and a car, fire officials said. A Metrolink spokeswoman says one Metrolink train hit a parked car at a railroad crossing, ran into another Metrolink train and crashed into a parked Union Pacific train. Glendale Police Chief Randy Adams says more than 100 people were injured A commuter train crash and derailment killed at least nine people, including a sheriff’s deputy, on Wednesday outside Los Angeles, fire officials said. A spokeswoman for the commuter line, Metrolink, said a Metrolink train hit a parked car at a railroad crossing, ran into another Metrolink train and crashed into a parked Union Pacific train.

The number of passengers involved in the derailment in Glendale, California, is not known. Glendale Police Chief Randy Adams said more than 100 people are injured. A law enforcement official identified one of the dead as Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy James Tutino, a 23-year-veteran, who was on his way to work.

Chris Gray, chief of the Glendale Fire Department, said more than 75 agencies are involved in the rescue and recovery, including some from Pasadena and Burbank.

Videotape shows Metrolink passenger train cars on their sides with shattered windows and the metal sheeting peeled backward and crushed inward. The footage also shows several overturned orange Union Pacific rail cars.

Firefighters are struggling to reach Metrolink passengers believed to be trapped, placing ladders against the debris to get into the cars.

How awful.

Update (1327): As commenters have noted, the story continues to evolve. The latest (from the revised CNN story linked above):

“It didn’t appear that the vehicle had stalled,” Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca told The Associated Press. “It appears that it was deliberately placed there.” Baca said authorities were speaking with the driver.

The television accounts suggest that the driver was going to kill himself but changed his mind. Not in time to avoid killing at least nine others, though. Amazing.

Update (1410): AP confirms this:

The SUV driver changed his mind about suicide and left the vehicle before it was hit, Police Chief Randy Adams said. The man will be charged with homicide, he said.

One would think. Indeed, it would be rather ironic if his aborted suicide attempt netted him the death penalty. It just might: AP reports the death toll at 10 with more than 100 injured.

FILED UNDER: General
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Dave Schuler says:

    In more recent reports they’re saying that the car was parked deliberately athwart the tracks. That makes it a suicide attempt. Whether it was terrorism remains unknown.

  2. Scott_T says:

    News channels have reported that the driver of the car is in custody by the police.

    Apparently, he was attempting suicide, then chickened out and left his car on the tracks.

    Very sad.

  3. DC Loser says:

    Sheesh. Couldn’t he just have crashed into a tree or something if he just wanted to kill himself??

  4. At Least 10 Killed In Glendale Train Derailment, Deranged Man Blamed
    A deranged man, Juan Manuel Alvarez, 26, of Compton, apparently thinking of commiting suicide and then deciding not to, parked his SUV on some train tracks and watched as a commuter train collided with it in Glendale, California killing at…

  5. Sounds like the opening episode of this season’s 24, except in that, I don’t think they caught the guy who had a truck parked on the railway.

    Expect the terrorists to nab Rumsfeld any minute now. 😉

  6. BigFire says:

    I say that Los Angeles County District Attorney hand this case over to US Attorney in Los Angeles for terrorism charge. He deserves nothing less than the most painful method of execution.

  7. Suspect in custody in derailment
    KABC TV An “outraged” Sheriff Lee Baca said a 23-year veteran of his department was among the at least 10 people who died today as the result of train disaster along the Glendale-Los Angeles border. Two other deputies were injured,…

  8. Alan Kellogg says:

    There’s a penalty worse than death. The perp has to take the place of the deceased. In all matters. He has to be financial support and emotional support. He gets to be mother, father, aunt, and uncle to the families of the deceased. All the while these families act as reminders of what he did.

  9. Kent says:

    He deserves nothing less than the most painful method of execution.

    I understand the outrage, but we don’t execute people for involuntary manslaughter. And, unless there is a suicide note indicating an intent to harm others, it’s going to be next to impossible to prove malice aforethought. The defense will argue that it didn’t occur to the defendant that he would hurt anyone but himself — he thought the train would plow right through his SUV.

    My guess is several counts of 2nd degree murder, plea bargained down to involuntary manslaughter, perhaps to be served concurrently. Though I would hope the prosecution would hold out for sentences to be served consecutively.

    On second thought, the man was suicidal. He’ll cop an insanity plea. No guess at the outcome.

  10. James Joyner says:

    Kent,

    Certainly, an insanity plea might be forthcoming. Otherwise, I would think he’d be found guilty of 1st degree murder. If nothing else, the felony murder rule would be in effect since he killed people in the commission of a crime. And, since there was more than one person killed, aggravating cicumstances apply that would make it death penalty eligible in California.