A 12-year-old boy was killed, and a 19-year-old woman was in critical condition Wednesday after a freight train collided with at least one vehicle in Oakley, according to the East Contra Costa Fire District.
The collision, which also injured three others, occurred just before 1 p.m. on East Cypress Road near Main Street in Oakley, fire officials said.
The boy died at the scene, and the woman was airlifted to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, officials said. Three others who were hurt declined medical attention.
Oakley police told NBC Bay Area that the 12-year-old victim was a student at Delta Vista Middle School. The crash happened just one block away from the school.
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"I got children that go to school right over here in Delta Vista [Middle School]," said Edward Harris, a witness.
Oakley resident Niecy McGee was also saddened by the tragedy.
“What saddens me more is I have a grandson, who attends that same middle school,” she said.
Aerial footage showed two damaged vehicles at the scene, but it was not immediately clear if both collided with the train.
Authorities advised people to avoid the area.
Chief Ross Macumber with the East Contra Costa Fire District told NBC Bay Area Wednesday that this was the third time this year that his crews have responded collisions involving a train and a car.
"If the crossing arms are down, don’t ever try and beat a train," he said. "They are down for a reason. The trains come through at a high rate of speed and they don’t stop for a long time. Never try and beat a train."
McGee raised her concern about the tracks.
"I don’t know what the solution is, more signs?" she said. "We have kids that walk those tracks every day to and from school."
According to police, there will be a crisis management team and counselors at Delta Vista Middle School to help students and teachers mourn their loss.
Police added that all crossing signals were operating correctly at the time of the crash.