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Man fatally struck by Metrolink train in Pacoima

By Hector Becerra

6:43 PM PST, December 6, 2013

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A man riding a bicycle was struck and killed by a Metrolink commuter train in Pacoima on Friday afternoon, authorities said.

Katherine Main, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Fire Department, said the man died at the scene. His name has not been released.

Jeff Lustgarten, a Metrolink spokesman, said the fatality involved the 218 train, which was bound for Union Station in downtown Los Angeles.

The accident happened about 3:50 p.m. along Van Nuys Boulevard near the intersection of San Fernando Road, which is between the Sun Valley and Sylmar stations, Lustgarten said.

The incident delayed other trains and canceled service on some lines. Buses were brought in to pick up passengers and take them to their destinations, Lustgarten said.

The Metrolink spokesman said it appeared that the bicyclist was trying to beat the train, even though the safety gates were down and the warning signals were going off.

"The [Los Angeles Police Department] will have to confirm that," Lustgarten said.

So far this year, he said, there have been about 20 fatalities involving Metrolink trains in L.A., Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties; some have been suicides. Four pedestrians were killed in a span of two weeks in the spring, including one person who jumped in front of a train in the city of Orange.

In another case, a group of taggers were scrawling graffiti near Cal State L.A. when they spotted a train heading east toward San Bernardino. Two of the young men crossed the tracks to leave, but a third doubled back, apparently to finish his work when he was killed. 

Lustgarten said about two months ago in San Bernardino, a young man waited for a freight train to pass by. The crossing gates remained lowered after that train went by, but the man decided to cross anyway.

He didn't see that a Metrolink train was now crossing, and he was killed, Lustgarten said.

 

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Twitter: @hbecerralatimes

hector.becerra@latimes.com