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Train-crash victim left behind a note

Ben Godar and Ryan Carter

Police found a suicide note inside the home of a Burbank man who

was killed this week when his Ford Explorer was struck by a MetroLink

train in Glendale.

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Phillip Anderson, 52, was killed at 8:11 a.m. Monday when his

sport-utility vehicle was hit near the intersection of Grandview

Avenue and San Fernando Road, police said. Witnesses saw Anderson

pull onto the tracks and wait for the train, police said. Witnesses

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also told authorities the crossing arms at the tracks were blocking

his SUV in one direction only.

None of the 300 passengers on the southbound MetroLink train were

seriously injured in the crash. The train pushed the Ford Explorer

nearly a mile down the track before it was finally able to stop.

Nine people committed suicide last year by stepping into the path

of a MetroLink train, spokeswoman Sharon Gavin said. She said

Monday’s incident was the first she was aware of in which the suicide

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victim was in a vehicle, making the collision much more dangerous to

train passengers.

On Jan. 6, truck driver Jacek Wysocki was killed instantly after a

MetroLink train slammed into his truck, which had turned into the

crossing at Buena Vista Street and San Fernando Boulevard in Burbank.

The train derailed, injuring more than 30 passengers. One of those

passengers, Grace Midgley Kirkness, 76, of Newhall, died Jan. 21.

Burbank Police are still investigating the collision and have not

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issued a final report.

“In a situation like [Monday’s], the crash could have injured

hundreds of people,” Gavin said.

Neighbor Dan Magner, who was acquainted with Anderson, was shocked

when told that Anderson was the victim.

“He was a great guy to be around,” Magner said, remembering last

summer, when Anderson -- a season-ticket holder at the Starlight Bowl

-- invited him and his wife to a classical concert. “He was a great

guy to be around, a busy kind of guy and real smart.”

Neighbors would call him “rocket scientist” because of his work,

which was affiliated with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.

Upon hearing it might have been a suicide, Magner said he hadn’t

seen much of Anderson in recent weeks.

“I can’t imagine that out of him. That’s strange,” he said.


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