Light rail train claims first fatality

Danger Train Fatality (via KPRC-2)
(image via KPRC-2)
Houston's light rail train claimed its first fatality last night, in its 88th overall documented collision and 16th this year:

The first fatality in a Metro light rail accident happened overnight Tuesday at the intersection of Main and Jefferson in downtown Houston.

A pickup truck and a Metro light rail train collided at the intersection of Jefferson and Main.

Witnesses told police Jesse Villareal was driving his white pickup truck eastbound on Jefferson. They say everyone behind him stopped for a red light, but he went through at the same time a southbound train entered the intersection.

Police say the front car slammed into the driver's side door, pushing the truck 50 feet down the rail and killing Villareal instantly. At full speed the trains go about 40 mph.

The train derailed from the impact of the crash.

At the time, the train carried 12 passengers, and four went to the hospital Tuesday night with minor injuries.

The Chronicle story refers to a nickname that came about over on the personal weblog:

Critics blame the record number of accidents on the system's at-grade rail design, with some nicknaming the $324 million MetroRail "The Danger Train." Questions also have been raised about confusing signage and traffic lights along the rail line. Additionally, MetroRail tracks share the left-turn lanes with motorists in the Texas Medical Center area.

That's a fair synopsis of the criticism.

LOCAL MEDIA COVERAGE: Houston Chronicle, KPRC-2, KHOU-11, KTRK-13.

WEBLOG COMMENTARY: Safety for Dummies, IFOC, PubliusTX.net.

MORE WEBLOG COMMENTARY: Lone Star Times.

Posted by Kevin Whited @ 05/11/05 08:28 AM | Print |

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