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Site of fatal accident ‘a dangerous corner’

Ryan Carter

Burbank crossing guard Lee Mahoney sits at her regular spot at San

Fernando Boulevard and Buena Vista Street, more worried than ever

about the children who cross the intersection every day.

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Earlier in the week, she witnessed the fatal collision of a

flatbed truck and MetroLink commuter train at her intersection and

worries what would have happened if the crash had occurred an hour

earlier, when children were on their way to nearby George Washington

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Elementary School.

“It’s a dangerous corner,” Mahoney said.

The intersection is made more complicated by the proximity of on-

and offramps for the Golden State (5) Freeway and traffic from side

streets. Trains cross the intersection with four-way flashing

signals.

It’s the mix of rushing vehicles, speeding trains and pedestrians

that makes for a precarious situation, Mahoney said.

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“They just want to get wherever they are going really fast,”

Mahoney said Thursday of the cars passing by. “There was almost

another car wreck here yesterday.”

Burbank Police said it appears Jacek Wysocki of Van Nuys was

trying to make a left turn in his flatbed truck from San Fernando

Boulevard onto Buena Vista Street at 9:30 a.m. Monday. Somehow, he

got caught between the downed crossing arms, and the train slammed

into his truck, Det. Paul Orlowski said. Wysocki, 63, was killed

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instantly. More than 30 of the train’s passengers were injured when

two of its cars derailed after the collision.

Mahoney said she has had to tell children to get off the same

tracks, and has seen them playing on the crossing arms.

She said the pedestrian signals at the intersection change too

quickly for people to move through them safely. Washington Principal

Jane Clausen is thankful for crossing guards in the area.

“But over the long haul, we would prefer the children not have to

walk across railroad tracks,” Clausen said.

As part of a long-planned project to ease congestion, Caltrans

plans to build an overpass next year for trains.

At the Burbank MetroLink station at 201 N. Front St., Santa

Clarita resident Dan Gilbert, who was waiting Thursday afternoon for

the Antelope Valley Line, said he was in one of the MetroLink cars

when it derailed. He wasn’t worried about going through the crossing,

though.

“You have accidents everywhere you go,” he said. “You got to get

wherever you are trying to go. There’s nothing you can do if it’s

your only means of getting there.”


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