Watch CBS News

Caltrain Fatally Strikes 30-Year-Old Woman In Car On Menlo Park Tracks

MENLO PARK (CBS SF) -- A crash late Monday afternoon between a car and Caltrain killed a 30-year-old woman and disrupted service for hours, fire and Caltrain officials said.

All trains in both directions were halted after southbound Caltrain No. 360 hit the car at Ravenswood Avenue at 4:46 p.m.

The female driver was stuck at the Ravenswood crossing where the car was hit, Menlo Park Fire Protection District Chief Harold Schapelhouman said.


The car flew 40 feet across the intersection and the driver had to be extricated from the car that was found on a railroad crossing box and pole. She was taken to Stanford Hospital in critical condition and was pronounced dead a short time later, he said.

A child safety seat was found in the car but was unoccupied, according to Schapelhouman.

The car was "pretty much totaled," he said.

All trains were stopped in both directions until about 5:30 p.m. when a single track was opened through the area, Caltrain officials said.

Around 6 p.m., the northbound tracks reopened for all trains, according to Caltrain officials.

Shortly before 7:30 p.m., the southbound tracks were cleared and trains were allowed to run through the area, Caltrain officials said.

The involved train sustained substantial damage in the crash, according to Caltrain officials.

Preliminary reports indicated the railroad gate crossing was properly working at the time of the crash, Caltrain officials said.

"It's one of the things we try to tell people. Don't stop on the tracks. You don't start across the tracks until you're sure you can get all the way across. And she just got caught in traffic. Apparently, wasn't paying real close attention," Caltrain spokesperson Mark Simon told KPIX 5.

People familiar with the area said the road is often busy and congested, and some say the intersection is an accident waiting to happen.

"There's traffic all the time. I see people stop on the tracks all the time and I just wonder, 'Why are they doing that?'" said passenger Sybil Vasche.

About 400 people on board the train were not injured, Caltrain officials said. The crash also impacted traffic on either side of the Ravenswood railroad crossing, according to Schapelhouman.

TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News Service contributed to this report.


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.