Construction May Have Caused Deadly Amtrak Crash: Investigators - NBC Bay Area
East Bay

East Bay

The latest news from around the East Bay

Construction May Have Caused Deadly Amtrak Crash: Investigators

It was not immediately clear how fast the train was going

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    A day after an Amtrak train slammed into an SUV in San Leandro, killing a mother and daughter, investigators said construction may have been a factor in the crash. Scott Budman reports. (Published Wednesday, May 25, 2016)

    A day after an Amtrak train slammed into an SUV in San Leandro, killing a mother and daughter, investigators said construction may have been a factor in the crash.

    Roadwork cones marked the area along Washington Avenue on Tuesday, and there was congestion where Vanessa Henriquez stopped her Toyota RAV-4 on the railroad tracks just moments before the train barreled into the vehicle, killing her and her 3-year-old daughter Saidy.

    Police said the construction zone may have caused Henriquez's vehicle to get trapped in the rail crossing arms.

    PG&E, which was doing work in the area, released a statement Wednesday saying it is cooperating with investigators, but it doesn't appear the incident was directly related to their worksite.

    Investigators also were working with Amtrak on Wednesday to get data from the train's computer that would show not only the train's speed, but also when the brakes were applied, Lt. Robert McManus of the San Leandro Police Department said.

    Capitol Corridor Train 532 struck the SUV on the tracks at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday near Washington Avenue in San Leandro, according to Amtrak.

    McManus said Tuesday the SUV was parked on the track on the other side of the guardrail. "There is a construction zone which could have created some confusion," he said.

    There were no injuries to the 39 people on board, Amtrak said. 

    The maximum train speed in that area is 79 mph, but it was not immediately known how fast the train was going, Amtrak said.

    "I don’t know what speeds the Amtrak train was traveling at but do know that as they pass these rail crossings they do go at a very high rate of speed, which would explain why that car was trapped on the tracks," McManus said.

    According to police, the train pushed the SUV about a quarter-mile down the tracks.

    McManus said motorists should always be extra cautious and keep a safe distance around rail crossings.

    "Anyone who stops at a railroad track not going two to three lengths from the rails when you're looking out the window, that is dangerous," he said.

     

    Get the latest from NBC Bay Area anywhere, anytime
    • Download the App

      Available for IOS and Android