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Pinned Driver Dies in Metrolink Crash

Victim was in his pickup after a collision with another motorist when the commuter train crashes into the two vehicles in Moorpark.

November 26, 2003|Gregory W. Griggs | Times Staff Writer

A Metrolink commuter train slammed into two vehicles involved in a head-on collision at a railroad crossing in Moorpark on Tuesday, killing one driver who was pinned inside his damaged pickup truck, authorities said.

The accident occurred about 4:30 p.m. when Arturo Bacilio, 24, of Sunland crashed his sport utility vehicle into the pickup truck at the Los Angeles Avenue crossing, just south of the Ronald Reagan Freeway, Ventura County Sheriff's Deputy Ed Tumbleson said.

The driver of the pickup, a 64-year-old Moorpark man whose identity has not been released, was still conscious after the collision but trapped inside his truck, according to witnesses. Passersby tried to free him but without success, witnesses said.

Moments later the flashing lights and warning bells of the crossing gate were activated, and a passerby ran down the tracks in an attempt to flag the engineer of the approaching train, Tumbleson said. But the engineer was unable to brake and the train collided with the disabled vehicles.

"This tragic incident probably all occurred within just four or five minutes," Tumbleson said. The victim was an employee of the Simi Valley Public Works Department and had been headed home when the accident occurred, he said.

Bacilio, who suffered minor injuries, was taken to Simi Valley Hospital where he was questioned by authorities. There was no evidence that drugs or alcohol had played a role in the accident, Tumbleson said.

Bacilio was driving his Ford Explorer east on Los Angeles Avenue when he came to a curve, Tumbleson said. But rather than follow the curve to the right, it appeared that he continued to drive straight and collided head-on with the truck, he said.

Soon after, the train, which was traveling from Los Angeles to Moorpark, approached the crossing, said Sharon Gavin, a Metrolink spokeswoman.

There were 45 passengers on the train but no injuries were reported, she said. Metrolink dispatched buses to transport passengers to the Moorpark terminal about two miles away.

It was the third Metrolink accident in Ventura County this year, Gavin said.

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