Viewable With ANY Browser

Note: My Web pages are best viewed with style sheets enabled.


Unsafe Commuter Train?

Copyright © 2002 by David E. Ross

Against stupidity, the Gods themselves contend in vain.

Friedrich von Schiller

Blue Line Train Kills Teenager in Crosswalk

By Kurt Streeter
Times Staff Writer
November 23 2002

A 16-year-old girl was killed Friday when she was struck by a Blue Line train on a street just south of downtown Los Angeles.

The accident raises the death toll to 61 on the light railway since it opened in 1990. The 22-mile line connecting downtown with Long Beach has many stretches that run among cars and pedestrians on busy streets. It has the worst fatal accident rate among light-rail lines in California and is among the deadliest railways in the nation, according to Federal Transit Administration statistics.

Witnesses told police the girl was in a crosswalk when she was hit about 7:30 a.m. by a southbound train near a station platform in the 700 block of East Washington Boulevard, said LAPD Sgt. Kevin Custard.

The witnesses said the girl, whose name was being withheld pending notification of her family, was crossing the street against a pedestrian red-light signal.

"She apparently was rushing across the street, even though she didn't have a signal to go," Custard said. "The train hit her and ran her over."

She was pronounced dead at the scene by Los Angeles Fire Department officials.

Full service on the Blue Line was stopped for about two hours, an MTA spokesman said.

The Blue Line carries about 62,000 riders daily, making it one of the busiest light-rail lines in the nation.

2 Injured When Car Hits Train

From a Times Staff Writer
November 24 2002

A 21-year-old driver and her passenger were injured Saturday when she drove through a lowered railroad crossing barrier and into the path of a Metro Blue Line train in Long Beach, police said.

It was the second serious incident in as many days involving a Blue Line train.

Three people on board the train, including the operator, received minor injuries in the 6:30 a.m. incident.

Police identified the driver as Elena Taofi of Long Beach. She was reported in fair condition Saturday night at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center.

Her passenger, Faamu Lufi Sao, also of Long Beach, was in fair condition at the same hospital, where he was being treated for severe head injuries and a broken pelvis.

Long Beach officers investigating the incident said Taofi was driving a 1997 Nissan Altima west on Wardlow Road when she smashed through the lowered railroad crossing arm at Pacific Avenue, breaking it off its base.

A southbound train entering the crossing struck the car.

Train operator Rosie Haynes, 51, was treated at a local hospital clinic for a shoulder injury.

Two of the roughly 50 train passengers also sustained minor injuries and were treated at the scene, police said.

Just one day before, a 16-year-old girl was struck and killed by a Blue Line train south of downtown Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles County coroner's office on Saturday identified her as Angela Barahona of Los Angeles.

Witnesses told Los Angeles police that the girl was walking across the street against a red light when she was hit by a southbound train on East Washington Boulevard.

She died at the scene.

Both stories © 2002 Los Angeles Times
Emphasis in bold added.

Neither story involves unsafe operation of the MTA Blue Line. Both involve illegal and clearly unsafe actions by individuals. Yet the Blue Line receives endless criticism for accidents such as these. Rather than labeling the Blue Line as "among the deadliest railways in the nation", the Federal Transit Administration should instead label Los Angeles area pedestrians and drivers as among the stupidest in the nation.

Cynic Alert

Although the death of a teenager who had a full life ahead is indeed a tragedy, Angela Barahona at least did us a favor by removing her stupidity trait from the human gene pool before she could reproduce. She deserves a posthumous Darwin Award. Elena Taofi survived her collision with the train and thus failed to qualify for this tribute to those who improve the human race by leaving it in really stupid ways.

30 November 2002

Link to David Ross's home page
David Ross home