CANADA--Metrolink Train Collides with a Pregnant Motorist : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

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Woman injured in Metrolink crash

Published Wednesday, March 15, 2000 By Melissa Pinion-Whitt Staff Writer

LA VERNE - An eastbound Metrolink train carrying 336 passengers collided with a pregnant motorist who was trying to cross the tracks before the train approached, authorities said Tuesday.

Zaijun Swartz, 31, of Pomona, who is six months pregnant, was driving south on Fairplex Avenue near Arrow Highway around 4 p.m. when she ran into the train. Metrolink officials and La Verne police said she barely scraped past the rail gates as they were coming down.

Her green Suzuki Grand Vitara collided with the train's first passenger car behind the locomotive and was knocked back over the center median, said Metrolink spokesman Peter Hidalgo. The car then slammed into a high curb on the east side of the road.

"It was just unbelievable to look and see a car go flying," said Jack Jackson, a nearby resident who saw the accident from his treehouse. "If (the train) had dragged it down the tracks, she probably would have been in a lot worse shape."

The woman sustained a broken nose and complained of chest and abdominal pain, said La Verne fire Battalion Chief John Breaux.

Paramedics took Swartz to Brackett Field Airport, where she was airlifted to Long Beach Memorial Hospital. She and her unborn baby were in good condition Tuesday night, a hospital official said.

No one on the train was injured, Hidalgo said.

The train, which was traveling about 40 mph and headed toward San Bernardino, was delayed 35 minutes. The train sustained minimal damage from the accident, he said.

The rail gates were operating normally at the time of the accident, Hidalgo said.

Several dozen residents and curious onlookers gathered behind yellow police tape while authorities investigated the accident. The crash sent hundreds of vintage baseball cards that were inside the woman's car flying as far as 100 feet from the crash, Breaux said. Fire officials picked them up so they could eventually return them to the woman.

There have been 87 Metrolink-related fatalities in the past eight years, Hidalgo said. Of those, less than half were motorists.

Metrolink started campaigns in January to educate both motorists and commercial truck drivers about crossing train tracks safely, Hidalgo said. Fines for driving around Metrolink gates have soared from $104 up to nearly $300 earlier this year.

But despite Metrolink's efforts, there are still motorists who try to cheat death, he said.

"As soon as the bulbs begin to flash, you are required to stop," Hidalgo said. "Apparently, she tried to beat the gates."

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-- (, March 16, 2000


"San Bernardino" Canada?

-- Rachel Gibson (, March 16, 2000.


Hi! Thanks for catching this, must be California.


-- (, March 16, 2000.

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