Jose, three brothers and their mother were struck by Amtrak's Twilight Shoreliner around 2:20 a.m. Wednesday morning as they walked across a trestle spanning a two-lane road in Fairfield.
Jose had lost most of his left leg, had several broken bones, and suffered severe brain damage. He was so gravely injured that relatives originally identified him as his six-year-old brother.
Julia Toledo had abandoned her apartment and may have lost her job, but her family and friends are still mystified as to why she and her children were walking along the railroad tracks at that hour, CBS News Correspondent Maggie Cooper reports.
Family members called Bridgeport, Conn., police May 19 worried that the 46-year-old mother and four of her six children were missing. In the early hours before dawn Wednesday, an Amtrak engineer spotted the family as they walked along the railroad tracks in Fairfield, five miles from home. "The woman with the three kids on the left hand side of the track attempted to rescue the child on the right hand side of the track," Chief James O'Donnell of the Metropolitan Transit Authority said.
"Apparently they were a family in desperate straits," Ken Flatto, head of Fairfield's board of selectmen said. "For children and an adult to be walking on train tracks at 2 in the morning, obviously they were scared and had nowhere to go." Flatto would not elaborate on the family's troubles.
The train was bound from Boston to Newport News, Va., according to Kevin Regan, an Amtrak official at the scene. The train had been running late because of the weather.
Investigators do not know how fast the train was going, but normal speed on that stretch of track is 75 mph. At that legal speed, it would take a 10-car train more than a mile to stop. There would have been no way for the engineer to stop the train in time.
According to Regan, a device on the train records how fast the train was going, when the engineer hit the brakes, when he hit the horn and how long it took the train to stop.
Julia Toledo had been in this country for just a year and a half and her family says she was despondent since her husband went back to Ecuador and another woman.