2015 Oxnard train derailment
The 2015 Oxnard train derailment occurred on February 24, 2015 when a Metrolink passenger train collided with a truck on a grade crossing and derailed at Oxnard, California, United States. The train engineer died from his injuries a week later and 29 others were injured.
|2015 Oxnard train derailment|
A Metrolink train similar to the one involved in the accident.
|Date||February 24, 2015|
|Time||5:44 a.m. local time (13:44 UTC)|
|Line||Ventura County Line|
|Incident type||Road crossing collision|
|Cause||Truck parked on crossing|
An overpass had been planned for almost two decades for the Rice Avenue crossing where the accident occurred. Funding, however, remained unavailable in Ventura County for the estimated $35 million grade separation project.
This section needs to be updated.February 2016)(
The accident occurred at 5:44 a.m. local time (13:44 UTC) when a passenger train collided with a 2005 Ford F-450 pick-up truck and trailer on the Rice Avenue grade crossing in Oxnard, California. The train derailed, with three cars falling onto their sides and a fourth remaining upright, as did the locomotive which was pushing the train from the rear. The train was traveling from East Ventura to Los Angeles and was accelerating after leaving the Oxnard station 2 miles (3.2 km) away from the crash site. It was traveling at 64 miles per hour (103 km/h) when the emergency brakes were applied and had slowed to 56 miles per hour (90 km/h) when it hit the truck. The train's usual cruising speed is 79 miles per hour (127 km/h); it was traveling under that speed. The train cars consisted of a Hyundai Rotem cab car #645, three Hyundai Rotem bi-level cars #206, #211 and #263, and an EMD F59PH diesel-electric locomotive #870 at the rear. All four cars derailed, with #263 remaining upright. According to the train crew, the truck appeared to possibly have been on fire before the collision. However, this was likely to have been the flashing headlights of the vehicle, which was facing the train, as the driver attempted to signal to the train crew that he was ahead of them. The train was being operated at the time by a student engineer with the train engineer in the control cab with him. The truck driver is reported to have driven along the tracks having turned too early before the intersection at Fifth Street and then having gotten his wheels jammed in the tracks from which he was then unable to extricate it. The truck was 80 feet west of the intersection and facing the train when the accident occurred.
There were 48 passengers and three crew on board the train. Of those, 30 were injured. Initially, 28 of the injured were taken to hospital; 20 were released and eight were admitted, four of them said to be in critical condition. Later, two more passengers were transported to hospitals and released. Victims were treated at the Community Memorial Hospital, Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center, St. John's Regional Medical Center, St. John's Pleasant Valley Hospital, and Ventura County Medical Center.
The truck driver was Jose Alejandro Sanchez-Ramirez, 54, who did not speak English, and who had a previous DUI conviction in his home state of Arizona although there was no indication that he was intoxicated at the time of the accident and no charges of being intoxicated were ever brought against him.[relevant? ] Sanchez-Ramirez left the scene on foot following the accident, but was later taken into custody about a mile away. According to his attorney, the man was trying to summon help in a remote part of the county without a vehicle and with no guarantee anyone he found would be able to communicate with him. When he finally encountered police officers, he handed them the cell phone on which he had been talking to his son so that his son could explain to the officers what had just happened to the train. He was booked on suspicion of hit and run and held on $150,000 bail, but prosecutors later declined to file criminal charges against him and he was released two days later. Sanchez was due back in court in May 2015.
Metrolink trains between East Ventura and Moorpark were cancelled. A bus service was provided for passengers traveling to these stations. Local roads around the scene of the accident were closed. Amtrak Pacific Surfliner service between Los Angeles and Goleta, that uses the same Union Pacific coast line, was also cancelled.
The train engineer, Glenn Steele, 62, was one of the critically injured and died one week later. After the accident, Steele experienced two cardiac arrests on Wednesday February 25, but lived after those events. At the time of his death, Steele was the most senior engineer with Metrolink, having spent half of his 42-year-long Amtrak career with Metrolink. Steele died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center early on March 3. A resident of Homeland, California, Steele was a grandfather.
In March 2015, two of those injured due to the crash sued the truck driver, and his employer, Harvest Management LLC.
As a result of the accident, Metrolink announced on September 3, 2015 that they will restrict use of the cab cars for at least a year as they will undergo a review of the safety features. Meanwhile, they will use BNSF Railway locomotives to add a second locomotive to each train set. A BNSF locomotive will be positioned in front of the cab car. The cab cars will remain in service as passenger coaches used elsewhere in a train's lineup of cars.[clarification needed]
On February 22, 2016, Jose Alejandro Sanchez-Ramirez was charged with manslaughter by Ventura County prosecutors.
The National Transportation Safety Board has launched an investigation into the accident. A Go-team was dispatched to the scene. The train was fitted with a forward-facing camera in the cab car. The NTSB has verified that the forward-facing camera was recording data and the collision itself was recorded by the camera. Although it was initially stated that the truck became stuck on the tracks, NTSB later clarified that it is unclear if the vehicle was stuck and that it was not a typical grade crossing incident where a vehicle is crossing the tracks and is stopped or struck before completing the crossing. The vehicle was not in the crossing nor between the crossing arms.
The Federal Railroad Administration opened an investigation into the accident, the twelfth at the crossing in ten years. An average of eight passenger and 24 freight trains use the line in each direction each day. A preliminary report was published on March 19, 2015. In the report, it was stated that when the truck was struck, its driver-side door was open and its headlights and emergency lights were flashing. A report later that year found that the cow-catcher and a coupler on the train had manufacturing flaws, although no conclusion was reported regarding their role in the crash.
On July 8, 2016, the Metrolink board approved a $1.5 million plan to repair the plows on the Hyundai Rotem cab cars. Once the repairs are completed, the cars will return to service and the leased BNSF locomotives will be returned.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 2015 Oxnard train derailment.|
- Weikel, Dan; Nelson, Laura J. (March 1, 2015). "Spending on rail crossing safety upgrades varies widely across Southland". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
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- "NTSB Member Robert Sumwalt's third briefing on the Metrolink grade crossing accident in Oxnard, CA" (video (25m 32s)). National Transportation Safety Board. February 26, 2015. Retrieved February 26, 2015.
- Covarrubias, Amanda; Rocha, Veronica; Sahagun, Louis (February 24, 2015). "Metrolink train hits truck, derails in Oxnard; truck driver in custody". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 24, 2015.
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The Metrolink train was traveling 56 mph when it hit the truck, well below the 79-mph speed limit, Sumwalt said.
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- Rocha, Veronica; Serna, Joseph (3 March 2015). "A week after Metrolink train crashes into truck, engineer dies". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
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Ramirez only speaks Spanish, and two people he encountered in the area could not understand him, the lawyer said.
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- Abdollah, Tami. "County files manslaughter charge in California train crash". Associated Press. The Associated Press. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
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The National Transportation Safety Board released a preliminary report about a month after the fatal train crash. The report stated Sanchez-Ramirez drove about 80 feet on the tracks before the truck got stuck. The truck's headlights were on, its emergency lights were flashing and the driver's side door was opened when the train hit it, the agency stated.
- Weikel, Dan (2015-12-16). "Metrolink train cars that derailed in Oxnard had flawed parts, confidential report finds". LATimes.com. Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2015-12-16.
- "Metrolink approves $1.5 million to repair defective cab cars". Los Angeles Times. July 8, 2016. Retrieved July 9, 2016.