Wednesday, January 26, 2005

 

Derailed

I wish the trial of this dirtbag was coming down to our office for prosecution, but it looks like it'll head into the Glendale branch.
A suicidal man parked his SUV on the railroad tracks and set off a crash of two commuter trains Wednesday that hurled passengers down the aisles and turned rail cars into smoking, twisted heaps of steel, authorities said. At least 10 people were killed and more than 180 injured.

The SUV driver got out at the last moment and survived.

The collision took place just before daybreak on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Employees at a Costco store rushed to the scene and pulled riders from the tipped-over double-deck cars before the flames reached them. Dazed passengers staggered from the wreckage, some limping. One elderly man on the train was covered in blood and soot, his legs and arms apparently broken.

"I heard a noise. It got louder and louder," said passenger Diane Brady, 56. "And next thing I knew the train tilted, everyone was screaming and I held onto a pole for dear life. I held on for what seemed like a week and a half it seemed. It was a complete nightmare."

Dozens of the injured were in critical condition, and more than 120 people were sent to hospitals.

The wreck set in motion a huge rescue operation involving more than 300 firefighters, some of whom climbed ladders to reach the windows of the battered train cars. A triage center was set up in a parking lot, where the injured lay sprawled on color-colded mats - red for those with severe injuries, green for those less seriously hurt.

It was the nation's deadliest train accident in nearly six years.

Authorities said Juan Manuel Alvarez, 25, of Compton, parked his sport utility vehicle on the tracks and got out before a Metrolink train smashed into it. The train then derailed and collided with another train going in the opposite direction. That train also jumped the tracks.

Alvarez was arrested and will face homicide charges, Police Chief Randy Adams said. Alvarez had also slashed his wrists and stabbed himself, but the injuries were not believed to be life-threatening, authorities said. Adams said Alvarez had a criminal record that involved drugs.

This guy is going to wish he took his own life after he takes a look at the charges we'll have lined-up for him.

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