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Woman, Son, 4, Killed as Blue Line Train Hits Car

October 25, 1990|NIESON HIMMEL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A woman and her 4-year-old son were killed Wednesday night when their car was struck by a Blue Line train in South-Central Los Angeles, authorities said.

Five of the approximately 50 passengers aboard the two-car train suffered minor injuries in the 8:45 p.m. collision and were taken to area hospitals, the Fire Department said. Another passenger was treated and released.

Greg Davy, a spokesman for the Southern California Rapid Transit District, which operates the line, said the woman drove her red Toyota around a lowered crossing gate at 41st Street near Long Beach Avenue and into the path of the northbound train, which pushed the car about 200 feet. The victims were not identified pending notification of relatives.

"We have at least one witness that says (the crossing barrier) was down and apparently the car simply tried to go around it to beat the train," Davy said.

"There was no way he could stop," Davy said of the train operator. "It takes about 750 feet for a train to come to a stop. It had no way of stopping once she drove around the gate."

"It sounded like an explosion," said Ramon Lopez, who heard the collision while standing in front of his home about 200 feet away. "I looked and all I could see were these sparks from the train pushing the car down the tracks."

"We've tried to say this before the system even opened, and we continue to say it every time an accident like this happens--please do not take on the train. The train will win every time," Davy said.

The first fatality on the service that began in mid-July occurred Sept. 19, when Rosa Ceballos, a 66-year-old mother of 11, was struck by a train while walking across tracks near her Watts home.

Alejandro Hernandez, 13, of Los Angeles, lost several toes July 30 when his foot was caught under a train's wheels near downtown while he played with friends.

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