Flashing red lights confused a driver and led to the Jan. 6 train
wreck in which several people were injured and two people were
killed, according to a report released Tuesday by the National
Transportation Safety Board.
The crash at a Metrolink railroad crossing near North Buena Vista
Street and San Fernando Boulevard could have been avoided if the red
arrow -- signaling that drivers were allowed to turn left into the
intersection if it was safe -- was not flashing, according to the
Jacek Wysocki, 63, reportedly drove his truck around the crossing
arms that day and into the path of an oncoming Metrolink train. The
train and truck collided, derailing the train, killing Wysocki and
injuring dozens of other people. A train passenger, 76-year-old Grace
Midgely Kirkness of Newhall, died two weeks later.
An autopsy revealed Wysocki had an undetermined amount of alcohol
in his body at the time of the accident, according to the report.
The report made several recommendations, including that the city
install a raised median at the North San Fernando Boulevard-North
Buena Vista Street crossing.
Burbank city officials said they have asked for a copy of the
report and will consider the recommendation, Burbank Asst. City Atty.
Carol Humiston said.
The main recommend- ation of the report directed Caltrans to
prohibit the flashing-red option for traffic signals when a train is
“We’re going to take the recommendation under advisement,” said
Dennis Trujillo, Caltrans deputy director of external affairs. “But
what really needs to be recognized is that no one should ever go
under or around a railroad crossing.
“The report said the [Wysocki] drove around the crossing gate and
was fatally struck. Those crossing arms are there for a reason.”