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Crash Kills 3 on Foothill Freeway

An SUV rollover near a Gold Line station injures four, including a child thrown onto rail.

August 13, 2004|Nikki Usher | Times Staff Writer

An out-of-control sport utility vehicle crashed on the Foothill Freeway in Pasadena on Thursday, killing three people and injuring four others, including a boy who was thrown into the path of a light-rail train.

Seven passengers were inside the SUV when the driver, a 45-year-old woman, swerved to avoid a car to her right and lost control, striking the center divider about 10 a.m., authorities said.

The five passengers behind the front seat were not wearing seat belts and were ejected from the 2003 Ford Expedition. Two died at the scene and a third died en route to the hospital.

One of those thrown from the car was an 8-year-old boy who landed on the Metro Gold Line tracks and was hit by a train going east to the Sierra Madre Villa station. The train's wheel severed his right foot.

The driver of the train, which was traveling at 50 mph, saw what he thought was debris on the tracks and hit the brakes but couldn't stop in time, said MTA spokesman Jose Ubaldo. No one on the train was injured.

Neither the driver nor the front-seat passenger was ejected from the SUV. The front-seat passenger was the only one uninjured.

The victims were all Pasadena residents. Two women, ages 41 and 80, died from head trauma, and a third woman, 77, died from chest and head trauma.

The California Highway Patrol closed the freeway from Lake Avenue to Madre Street, and traffic was jammed for three hours.

CHP spokesman Jon Samson said no other cars appeared to be involved and that officials were investigating.

Transit officials will conduct their own investigation to determine whether the train's driver acted appropriately and if the train's equipment functioned properly.

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