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UPDATE: Man fatally struck on train tracks in Newhall

Reports from scene indicated he stepped in front of oncoming Metrolink train

Posted: February 18, 2014 3:35 p.m.
Updated: February 18, 2014 6:05 p.m.

A covered body lays on the track at the Metrolink station in Newhall after the victim reportedly stepped in front of an oncoming train Tuesday. Signal photo by Charlie Kaijo

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A man believed to be in his 30s was struck and killed in Newhall Tuesday by a northbound Metrolink train.

The name of the victim was not released. Unconfirmed reports from the scene indicated he walked in front of the oncoming train.

Santa Clarita Valley sheriff’s deputies were called to the scene around 2:45 p.m. at the Newhall Metrolink station at Market Street and Railroad Avenue.

An orange tarp was placed over the man’s body. The body was lying between the northbound and southbound sets of railroad tracks near the car at the end of commuter train No. 209 bound for Via Princessa.

Sheriff’s deputies cordoned off the east side of Market Street at Railroad Avenue with police tape to protect the scene.

“Right now this is a crime scene so I need to keep this area clear,” said a deputy who was first to respond to the incident. Passengers were held in the train cars until 4:15 p.m. when buses arrived to take them the rest of the way to Via Princessa.

“It appears this individual was in a non-pedestrian area when the incident happened,” Metrolink spokesman Jeff Lustgarten said of the victim.

The case would be investigated by detectives from the Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau, said Lt. Tom Bryski of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.

The 95 passengers on the northbound, six-car train were transferred to two northbound buses, Lustgarten said. Buses were also dispatched to the Metrolink station at Via Princessa to accommodate passengers on southbound train No. 218.

Shortly after 3:50 p.m., paramedics with the Los Angeles County Fire Department arrived at the scene for reports of a diabetes patient who was on the train and needed medical attention, said one firefighter.

By 4:10 p.m. passengers on the train were banging on the train cars’ glass trying to get the attention of emergency personnel so they could get off the train.

One of the passengers said as he exited the train that the victim was a man and appeared to be in his 30s.

“It’s terrible, terrible,” the passenger said as he was being directed to a waiting bus. “We could see him from the train.”
On Twitter @jamesarthurholt




Vtown123: Posted: February 18, 2014 3:57 p.m.

Very classy to add this in the article:

"There were several students who had apparently just gotten out of school who asked deputies, “How am I going to get home?”

joe91381: Posted: February 18, 2014 5:27 p.m.

"There were several students who had apparently just gotten out of school who asked deputies, “How am I going to get home?” Let's think about this, a man just lost his life, call you parents to pick you up idiots. This generation is all about themselves, I can not stand these young kids anymore.

RCV: Posted: February 18, 2014 5:52 p.m.

Just walk up the street and cross at Newhall / Railroad turn left .....

Rick54: Posted: February 19, 2014 10:08 p.m.

Is this article confusing, or is it just me?

ruthlessone: Posted: February 19, 2014 6:22 a.m.

You say that like you expect an article from the Signal staff to NOT be confusing ?? These are not literary or journalistic professors here, in fact far from it. They ROUTINELY go to print with typographical and grammatical errors all over their stories in both the print and web edition. I have never seen a organization in bigger need of an overhaul and housecleaning than this group. Some journalism classes might be on the horizon as well.

chico: Posted: February 19, 2014 6:27 a.m.

How am I going to get home? There's an app for that, right? --edited.

14forlife: Posted: February 19, 2014 7:11 a.m.

Siri will help you get home!

ElizaS: Posted: February 19, 2014 7:26 a.m.

At the time this was happening, the students did not know what was happening and that there was a dead person. Only thing they knew was the only access point off of Railroad was blocked to their homes. It was a valid question to ask deputies.

chefgirl358: Posted: February 19, 2014 9:55 a.m.

Eliza, these people are all grown adults. They might be young adults, but adults nonetheless. If they had any common sense at all, they'd know how to figure out how to get home.

randygriffin: Posted: February 19, 2014 10:29 a.m.

Personally I feel that if the person who was struck by the train would have crossed where he was suppose to or waited for the train to safely pass this terrible accident would not have happened: In any way this is a terrible accident. Could it have been prevented? Who knows. Would the person still be alive had the person waited to safely cross the railroad tracks? Maybe. Any ways my prayers goes out to his family for their loss.

johnnyrock: Posted: February 19, 2014 10:34 a.m.

Why do you have to call the "young adults" idiots? "joe91381"? I guess you don't have kids. They did not know what was going yet, If you can not stand these young kids, maybe you should move to a retirement village. And RIP to the gentleman who lost his life. Sending prayers to him and his family. And people stop throwing around insults, why can't you just be civil?

ElizaS: Posted: February 19, 2014 1:04 p.m.

chefgirl358, in my world elementary and junior high kids are not adults which were some of them out there. Again, this happened right at the time school got out. It is a valid comment especially since they did not know what was happening at the time. The only other access point is off of Railroad which is a half-mile away. If the students saw a Metrolink Train on the tracks blocking Market Street, it was a possibility that Newhall Avenue crossing could have been blocked too, thus eliminating the other way into that neighborhood.

Common sense is to ask Sheriffs the best way to get to their home, not knowing if other access points might have been blocked.

bbcalvin: Posted: February 19, 2014 1:20 p.m.

Agree with ElizaS. We all don't necessarily know what transpired at the scene. However, asking a deputy for information or another way to get home shows the will to assess the situation and make a decision.

We see it all the time with brush fires. Often streets are closed. If approaching a street that is closed, I would assume anyone with common sense would ask a deputy for information and ask about an alternative route.

boneshark: Posted: February 19, 2014 5:34 p.m.

I unfortunately got a full eyeload of this poor person next to the tracks when I got off the train last night. Sad sight indeed and there seemed to be some very upset family members who were there. My thoughts go out to them...

And yes, I too asked a deputy which was the best alternative route out of there (as Market Street was closed). I'm still trying to figure why posters here have such a hard time with that...???

ride2live: Posted: February 19, 2014 8:22 p.m.

Calm down everyone...Jim is a poor excuse for a writer and he put together a third graders level of reporting here. He probably assumed the "extra drama" of the kids plight would allow the reader to gloss over his poor reporting efforts. He was right, you all got stuck on the kids struggle to get home instead of the main story. They must not pay him to report for the Signal.

Carlitos: Posted: February 20, 2014 4:57 a.m.

Some other news source reported this as a suicide. Which leaves the question: Did the decadent posses valid fare?Glad to see other literate readers recognize the quality issues of the cognitive and language challenged Canucklehead. But you are so harsh! Third grade? Really? Try fifth or sixth. In public schools he is junior high material. --edited.

Carlitos: Posted: February 20, 2014 5:03 a.m.

To get home all they need to do is walk across the the tracks! Oh, wait, some one tried that.

bobforte: Posted: February 20, 2014 12:59 p.m.

Why do these passengers stay on the train. I would have just gotten off. Even if it is a crime scene, you can not hold them captive.

SIgnal just updated with another article though that this was a suicide.

KLB: Posted: February 20, 2014 2:00 p.m.

@ bobforte

You are actually held hostage on the train. You cannot get off. Believe me, I was stuck for three hours because of a suicide. There’s one of three ways to get off the train when it breaks down and/or the train is stopped because it hit someone. You can have a medical emergency, in which case you are wheeled off by paramedics and presumably taken to the hospital. So you really can’t just say you’re diabetic and need to get home to take your insulin. It’s not that easy.

The next way off is if/when Metrolink has set up a bus bridge to take you to your final destination and the buses are on scene. That rarely happens. The folks in this instance got lucky because of their location and this particular train was only going as far as Via Princessa, so they were bused to their final destinations. Metrolink rarely ever follows through with a bus bridge if the train is going all the way to Lancaster. You are simply stuck on the train until the train is released to go on its way.

And the last way off is if the train is actually at the platform. The reason for this is that the Metrolink folks are afraid the passengers are going to hurt themselves when they exit the train and step into the gravel. Stupid I know, especially when you’re sitting there watching fire, police and Metrolink personnel literally jumping on and off the train in these suicide cases. Since suicides and break downs rarely happen at the platform, this is not a likely option. With this suicide, some of the cars were still at the platform, so it’s possible that after emergency personnel made sure everyone was okay, the passengers may have been released. But they definitely won’t release anyone until fire or police have made sure there are no injuries to the passengers. I suppose at that point you could say your neck hurts from when the engineer slammed on the brakes and see if that gets you off the train. It will probably end up in a trip to the hospital, but I suppose that would be on Metrolink’s dime. But hey, at least you’re off the train.

So there you have it. They really can and they really do hold the passengers hostage.

boneshark: Posted: February 20, 2014 4:08 p.m.

@KLB: Thanks for the info. It sucks that these people were held as long as they were, but they are potential witnesses and it is a crime scene. But you also mentioned that some of the cars of this train were still at the platform which was not the case. The closest train car was several hundred feet south of the station platform on the other side of Market Street. The first photo shown up top showing the covered body was taken from Market Street looking south, away from the train station.

KLB: Posted: February 20, 2014 5:33 p.m.

Actually, there was one (possibly two, but I don't remember) cars at the platform, one blocking Market Street and a car or two on the other side of Market Street. I park at the Newhall Metrilonk station and took the commuter bus home that evening. The sheriffs escorted us through the car blocking Market and out the other side so we could get to our cars. That last picture is probably the train either heading back to the train yard or just moving out of the way of Market Street.

bobforte: Posted: February 21, 2014 6:21 p.m.

So what you are saying is you can't open the door and just climb down to the ground? Who is going to stop you? The police or sheriff can't hold you just because you are a witness.

Carlitos: Posted: February 22, 2014 9:28 a.m.

They keep the doors closed for passenger safety. You could open a window emergency escape, but be arrested for interfering with mass transit. Call it what you want, but you cannot get off the train.

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