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Railroad Accidents

CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 20, 2008 | Robert J. Lopez, Times Staff Writer
Engineer Robert M. Sanchez pulled Metrolink 111 out of the Chatsworth station and was rolling north at 54 mph. About a mile later, he entered a restricted speed zone and throttled down to 42 mph. Just ahead, on his right side, was a red light. It was a warning to stop so that an oncoming Union Pacific freight train could move off the main track and onto a siding.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 19, 2008 | Cara Mia DiMassa, Times Staff Writer
As a bugler played taps outside the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on Thursday, LAPD Officer Laura Gerritsen stood up and saluted the flag-draped casket of her life partner, Officer Spree DeSha. Gerritsen was in uniform, and the action seemed fitting to honor a woman who was remembered in a nearly three-hour funeral ceremony as a model police officer. DeSha, 35, a seven-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department, was among 25 people killed and 135 injured Sept.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 18, 2008 | Anna Gorman, Times Staff Writer
Still in a daze from the crash, Donald Ashman walked over to the first body. Ashman knelt down and lifted a corner of a white blanket covering the body, placed his hand on the man's forehead and said the words he had said so many times before, almost always at a hospital: "May God Almighty have mercy upon thee, forgive thee thy sins and bring thee to everlasting life." The prayer took just a few seconds.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 18, 2008 | Evelyn Larrubia
Chen-Wyuan Kari Hsieh didn't want to trouble her father to drive her from the family's Newhall home to their restaurant in Simi Valley, her sister said. So she figured out how to get there on the train and climbed aboard Friday. Hsieh, 18, was among the victims of last week's deadly Metrolink crash. "I think she was a really lovely sister and a really lovely daughter," said Sophia Hsieh, 20. "There's a lot about my sister that no words can describe."
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 18, 2008 | Robert J. Lopez and Steve Hymon, Times Staff Writers
Federal investigators said Wednesday that records from Metrolink engineer Robert M. Sanchez's cellphone show that he sent and received text messages while on duty Friday, the day he was involved in a catastrophic train collision in Chatsworth. However, investigators have not yet analyzed the records to determine whether Sanchez was using his phone at the time his train slammed into an oncoming Union Pacific freight train in an accident that left 25 people dead and 135 others injured.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 18, 2008 | Evelyn Larrubia
Beverly Mosely left a bad marriage in Florida, boarding a Greyhound bus to California with her two daughters and a single suitcase, hoping for a fresh start. In the 24 years that followed, it seemed to her loved ones that she had created a good life for herself. Mosely, 57, worked her way up from a vocational nurse who worked nights to become the ombudsman at Kaiser Permanente Panorama City Medical Center.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 17, 2008 | Kate Linthicum
Charles Peck had gone through some tough times in recent years, including a divorce, but things were looking up. Peck, 49, had fallen in love again, with longtime friend Andrea Katz of Westlake Village. In February, he asked Katz to be his wife. But there was a problem. Peck, the father of three grown children, lived in Salt Lake City, and Katz didn't want to get married until they were living in the same state. So, for six months, Peck looked for work in California.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 21, 2008 | Ann M. Simmons, Times Staff Writer
A gasp filled a downtown Los Angeles courtroom Wednesday as a judge sentenced a former Compton laborer to 11 consecutive life prison terms for triggering a commuter train crash that killed 11 people, the deadliest train crash in Metrolink's history. Convicted murderer Juan Manuel Alvarez sat silent, and the gasp, along with audible sighs, came from the gallery as Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge William R. Pounders handed down the sentence. Pounders also criticized Alvarez for lacking genuine remorse for the crash.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 4, 2008 | Ann M. Simmons, Times Staff Writer
The family of Juan Manuel Alvarez, the former Compton laborer convicted of murdering 11 people when he caused a deadly train crash three years ago, says that although they expect Alvarez to be punished for his actions, he does not deserve to die. "If at any one point I really felt that he did this with any intent to hurt anybody, I wouldn't be here trying to defend him," said Beto Alvarez, 41, who raised his now 29-year-old cousin as a son. "He was not in his right state of mind.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 25, 2008 | Ann M. Simmons, Times Staff Writer
After nearly eight weeks of testimony, a jury Tuesday started deliberating the fate of a Compton man who left his vehicle on railroad tracks and caused a deadly Metrolink wreck three years ago. Juan Manuel Alvarez, 29, is charged with 11 counts of murder and one count each of arson and train-wrecking. He could face the death penalty if convicted. "Don't forget these 11 victims," Deputy Dist. Atty. Cathryn Brougham told the jury as she concluded her closing arguments Tuesday.
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