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Report: Motorists to blame for train crashes

Darleene Barrientos

The number of train-vs.-vehicle accidents in the area in January --

one of them causing a derailment in Burbank -- is unusual but not

uncommon, according to a new report.


A study conducted by the state Public Utilities Commission blamed

drivers for the five Los Angeles-area accidents involving trains

during that time. Four of the five accidents occurred along the

Antelope Valley rail line, which runs from Lancaster into Burbank and


Glendale on its way to Los Angeles.

From 1992 to 2002, the commission’s data analysis showed an

average of 6.1 accidents per year for the 25 railroad crossings

along the Antelope Valley rail line. Those accidents averaged to

1.3 fatalities and 1.2 injuries per year, according to the report.

Four accidents resulting in four fatalities and 36 injuries in one

month on the line is “very unusual,” the report said.

The commission’s report said no evidence was found to suggest any


of the accidents were caused by faulty railroad- warning devices or

actions of the train operators.

Jacek Wysocki was killed Jan. 6 when a MetroLink train slammed

into his truck in Burbank as he crossed Buena Vista Street from San

Fernando Boulevard. The train derailed and injured more than 30

passengers. One of the passengers, Grace Midgley Kirkness, 76, of

Newhall, died Jan. 21 of injuries she apparently suffered in the



Phillip Anderson, 52, was killed Jan. 27 after witnesses saw him

pull onto the tracks at Grandview Avenue and San Fernando Road and

wait for the train, police said. A suicide note was later found at

his home in Burbank.