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Metrolink accident kills 11; BLET Safety Task Force to help investigate

CLEVELAND, January 26 -- A commuter train crash and derailment killed at least 11 people, and injured more that 200 outside Los Angeles this morning. The status of the train crews has not been confirmed.

A spokeswoman for Metrolink said a Metrolink train hit a parked car at a railroad crossing in Glendale, Calif., ran into another Metrolink train and crashed into a parked Union Pacific train.

The SUV was left on a crossing by a suicidal man. However, the SUV driver changed his mind about suicide and exited the vehicle before it was hit, Police Chief Randy Adams said. The man will be charged with homicide, he said. The man, identified as Juan Manuel Alvarez, 26, of Compton, stood by as the southbound Metrolink train struck his vehicle, derailed and hit the northbound train, Adams said. It also appeared that he attempted to slash his wrists and stab himself, according to Associated Press reports.

The BLET Safety Task Force has been dispatched to assist in the National Transportation Safety Boardís investigation into the accident.

Firefighters picked through the twisted wreckage, which was scattered across the tracks. They carried wounded passengers to a triage center in a nearby parking lot.

Video from the scene showed people being removed from the train on stretchers. Smoke could be seen coming from twisted wreckage at the scene of the crash in Glendale.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005
bentley@ble-t.org

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