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Train Kills Woman in Upland

The victim, who had a history of suicide tries, jumps onto Metrolink tracks, witnesses say.

May 08, 2003|Lance Pugmire | Times Staff Writer

A 50-year-old Upland woman apparently committed suicide by jumping into the path of a Metrolink train Wednesday morning, police said.

Witnesses said Linda Kay Smith walked calmly toward the tracks at Euclid Avenue south of 9th Street.

"She set her purse down about eight feet from the tracks, took three steps and dove into the train's path like she was Superman," one witness said.

The westbound train had just left the Upland station and was traveling about 25 mph when it hit Smith at 7:27 a.m. Smith, who had a history of suicide attempts, was pronounced dead at the scene, said Upland Police Sgt. Jeff Mendenhall.

She had attempted suicide in 1994 by driving her car off a cliff in Mt. Baldy, Mendenhall said.

Northbound traffic on South Euclid was stopped for 2 1/2 hours as officers investigated her death.

Metrolink spokeswoman Sharon Gavin said the train, which averages 400 passengers on its San Bernardino-to-Los Angeles route, was delayed an hour.

The train's engineer was not identified. Another engineer took over after the incident, which is standard procedure after a death on the tracks, Gavin said.

"That's a traumatic thing to witness -- this person jumping in front of the train, knowing it takes our trains one-third of a mile to stop," she said.

Two other San Bernardino-to-Los Angeles trains were delayed 30 and 15 minutes, respectively.

The suicide, the fifth involving a Metrolink train in Southern California this year, occurred near a busy restaurant.

"We tried to keep it business as usual by closing the shades, but people were asking to sit by the window," said Suzanna Wells, manager of the International House of Pancakes. "That's just morbid."

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