Light rail train claims first fatality
(image via KPRC-2)
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.
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.
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