Jose Alvarez, 46, of Gonzales in Monterey County was killed after he drove his 2001 Ford Ranger pickup truck into the path of an Amtrak train near King City, The Monterey County Herald reports.
Alvarez reportedly drove across a railroad crossing on Metz Road and directly into the path of a northbound train. According to California Highway Patrol officials, the train was traveling at 65 mph and could not stop in time to avoid colliding with Alvarez’s truck.
None of the Amtrak passengers or crew was hurt. Alvarez suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene following the train vs. auto accident. I offer my deepest condolences to Alvarez’s family.
This report does not have too many details about why or how Alvarez drove into the path of the Amtrak train. We don’t know if the railroad crossing was equipped with gates or flashing lights or signs indicating that there is a railroad crossing ahead.
According to the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHA) statistics, the United States has about 150,000 public grade crossings. Of these crossings, about 35,500 have gates, 25,000 have flashing lights and 1,200 have highway traffic signals, wigwags and bells.
It’s too early to tell how this train accident occurred, but the incident warrants a thorough investigation. Alvarez’s family will be well-advised to retain the services of an experienced California personal injury attorney who is well-versed in train accidents. A skilled personal injury lawyer will be able to launch an independent investigation and determine the cause of the accident and who was at fault.
Law enforcement agencies and other public entities often don’t have the time, the staff or the resources to go into such traffic accident investigations. A California train accident attorney will help inform you about your legal rights and help protect those legal rights.
Also, remember, that in California, any claim against a governmental agency must be filed within six months of the accident.