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METROLINK COLLISION: PORTRAITS OF LOSS / YI CHAO

His grandson, 5, was his joy

September 15, 2008|Ann M. Simmons

A friend drove Yi Chao to his eye doctor appointment Friday in downtown Los Angeles. But Chao decided to take the train back home to Simi Valley, where the 72-year-old Cambodian native lived with his son Kong Chao.

"I called him at 4:21 p.m.," said Kong Chao, 36. "He said he was coming home soon. . . . He was almost there at the station in Simi Valley."

When Chao got home from work, he heard on the radio that a Metrolink train had crashed. His father was still not home.

Late Saturday evening, he still hadn't found his father.

"I called him again, again and again, but there was no answer," said Chao, choking back tears and grappling to find words. "I went to Chatsworth High School, where the families were meeting. I try to find out if he is going to hospital."

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday, September 18, 2008 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 2 inches; 109 words Type of Material: Correction
Metrolink victims: The profile in Tuesday's California section of Doyle Souser, who died in the Metrolink train collision, said a memorial service would be held Friday. The service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday at Camarillo Community Church, 1322 Las Posas Road, Camarillo. A memorial fund has been established and checks made out to "Doyle Souser Memorial Fund" can be mailed to 2408 Paseo Noche, Camarillo, CA 93012. A profile in Monday's Section A of another victim, Yi Chao of Simi Valley, gave his age as 72. He was 71. A profile in Sunday's Section A of Michael Hammersley, who also died in the crash, spelled his name Hammersly.

Chao said he called all of his relatives to see if they knew his father's whereabouts.

He said his father was "always talkative."

"He is happy in his grandson, my son. He is 5. His grandson wakes every morning and goes into his room."

On Saturday at about 8:45 p.m., at the urging of a reporter who supplied the phone number, Chao called the coroner's office, which confirmed that Yi Chao had died. His name had been released more than two hours earlier.

-- Ann Simmons

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