San Francisco

SF State Lecturer, Jazz Musician Killed in Burlingame Train Crash

Andrew Speight, 58, lived in Burlingame and was a well-known fixture of the Bay Area jazz community.

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A man who was killed in a recent vehicle versus trains accident in Burlingame, has been identified as a San Francisco State University lecturer.

Investigators identified the victim as 58-year-old Andrew Speight.

Speight lived in Burlingame and was a well-known fixture of the local jazz community. He played the alto sax and taught at San Francisco State's School of Music.

The crash happened Thursday near the Caltrain Broadway Station in Burlingame.

Officials said that Speight drove onto the tracks when his car got stuck. Speight's vehicle was then hit by two trains, killing him.

Remembering Andrew Speight

In San Francisco, Keys Jazz Bistro has hosted several free performances to honor Andrew Speight's life.

One of the owners of Keys, Simon Rowe, explained that he first met Speight decades ago in Australia where the two grew up.

"Andrew and I have known each other for about 40 years, we were students together in Sydney Australia, we both attended the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music, and we also played in Sydney," Rowe explained, noting that they both independently made their way to the U.S. and then to San Francisco, both motivated by their love of jazz music.

"He lived the life an artist in pursuit of his muse which was in jazz music," Rowe said of his friend, "and [he was] constantly working on his playing, constantly learning to improve himself and with that, tirelessly creating community around the art form, both as a teacher and a mentor and an incredible alto saxophone player."

Rowe said Speight was well known in the Bay Area jazz scene and from his work teaching at SFSU. Rowe said Speight's death has him feeling shattered.

"The whole community is trying to process that and the best way to do that is to play beautiful music," Rowe said.

Rowe hopes the jazz community can come together to support Speight's family at this time, including Speight's family who is still in Australia.

Asta Venclovaite, one of the owners of Broadway Grill in Burlingame, explained that Speight had sparked a regular jazz performance series at her restaurant. She said Speight lived nearby and offered to bring jam sessions to her newly-opened restaurants, which quickly transformed into shows each Wednesday featuring many talented jazz musicians.

Venclovaite remembers Speight saying of the weekly jam sessions, “Burlingame needs something like that, Burlingame needs music!"

"He was a guy who, if he had an idea, he made it happen,” she said.

Venclovaite said she and many others in Burlingame were saddened to hear of Speight's death.

"It was really tragic to find out he’s no longer here, and we all miss him already," she said.

The Broadway Grill is just a few blocks from the site were the crash happened. Venclovaite said she's heard of other crashes happening there through the years too.

Caltrain said in the past five years, there have been seven crashes at the Burlingame Broadway crossing. Two of those were deadly.

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