Four Killed, One Injured When Freight Train Strikes Car
Four young people were killed and another was seriously injured when their vehicle drove in front of an oncoming freight train in Fresno, Calif. on Jefferson Avenue near Golden State Boulevard.
The accident occurred in the early morning hours at an intersection that lacks barricades to prevent vehicles from entering the track. The train was traveling at 55 mph when it struck the Chevy Lumina.
Michaela Smith, 19, Reuben Fernandez, 20, Angelina Velasquez, 18, and David Alonzo Jr., 21, all died on the scene. Alexandra Sanchez, 20, was taken to Community Regional Medical Center and is expected to survive. The group had just attended a meeting for a home-based business they were interested in starting.
The California Highway Patrol continued to investigate the accident, but said there was no indication alcohol was a factor.
Most railroad crossings in the U.S., especially in urban areas, are very well protected against encroachment by vehicles. This could actually cause some, particularly less experienced drivers, to become complacent about the hazards presented by crossings. The fact that five young friends were together in the vehicle also indicates distraction may have been a factor. It is important to be attentive to signage and other aspects of your surroundings at all times when driving. Keep your attention on the road and not on your passengers or your electronic gadgets.