San Francisco

Mother and 3-Year-Old Die After Amtrak Train Crashes Into SUV in San Leandro

It was not immediately clear how fast the train was going

A woman and her 3-year-old were killed in an Amtrak crash in San Leandro, California, Tuesday afternoon, after a train traveling from San Jose to Sacramento crashed into their SUV.

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

San Leandro police identified the victims as 30-year-old Vanessa Henriquez and her 3-year-old daughter, Saidy.

San Leandro Police Department spokesman Lt. Robert McManus said 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," McManus said. Both mother and child died on impact, he said.

The family was in shock Tuesday. Jose Nelson Portillo confirmed to NBC Bay Area that it was his sister-in-law and niece in the SUV. He said the family has a boy with autism, and Hernriquez was on her way to pick him up.

One witness said the conductor tried to stop the train and was concerned when he got closer to the wreckage.

"I went down there, and the conductor came out of the train," said Weston Pokorny. "He said, 'Please tell me people got out of the car.' He was checking the train. I said no one got out of the car."

There were no injuries to the 39 people on board, Amtrak said. All passengers were transported by bus to an Amtrak station to continue on to Sacramento.

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 passings they do go at a very high rate of speed which would explain why that car was trapped in the tracks," McManus said.

Emergency crews and paramedics could be spotted at the scene of the crash, which showed the SUV trapped underneath the train.

"The train basically dragged the car all the way down - it stopped pretty fast, but it was too late," a man who was eating lunch at a nearby restaurant told NBC Bay Area. "I suddenly turned around and heard this impact ... Wham!"

According to police, the train pushed the SUV to what appears to be an eight and a quarter of a mile down the train tracks.

"I heard the screeching and then bang," said Western Pokorny, who spoke with the conductor moments after the crash.

"He said, 'Please tell me they got out of the vehicle.' I said, 'No one got out the of the vehicle they are gone.'"

On Monday, a man was hit and killed by an Amtrak train traveling from San Jose to Sacramento in San Leandro, officials said. Train No. 528 was traveling from San Jose to Sacramento when it struck the man around 10:30 a.m. near Davis Street and Orchard Avenue, Amtrak said.

There were two more train-related accidents Monday. The first accident occurred at 6:45 a.m. when Caltrain No. 305 struck and killed a man in Burlingame. Also on Monday morning, a person was hit and trapped underneath a train at the BART Embarcadero Station in San Francisco.

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