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.