Town Square

Man killed by train in Palo Alto identified

Original post made on Feb 8, 2013

A pedestrian who was struck and killed by a train in Palo Alto on Friday has been identified, the Santa Clara County Coroner's office said on Tuesday.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, February 8, 2013, 8:29 PM


Posted by Student, a resident of Gunn High School
on Feb 8, 2013 at 11:06 pm

Did you mean "pedestrian" as in "student?" I am very worried, and updates would be greatly appreciated by all.

Posted by Mom, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Feb 8, 2013 at 11:29 pm

I hope that the person is not a bullied student.
Whoever he/she is, I feel sorry.

Also I wonder what happened to a guard there?
I sometimes see the guard company car, but no one is around the crossing at E. Charleston, at least.

Posted by Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Feb 8, 2013 at 11:39 pm

I agree with Student. It would be nice to have an update as to whether the person was an adolescent or an adult. Thank you.

Posted by Palo Alto Parent, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 8, 2013 at 11:43 pm

Please report back that it was not a young person. Please, not another child.

A Palo Alto Parent

Posted by Student 2, a resident of Gunn High School
on Feb 8, 2013 at 11:43 pm

Yes please, even if it is just a minor or not- we are all worried.

Posted by Early Reports, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 8, 2013 at 11:59 pm

Early Reports are it's not a student

Posted by Student 2, a resident of Gunn High School
on Feb 9, 2013 at 12:11 am

What early reports?

Posted by Gunn student, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Feb 9, 2013 at 12:37 am

I am very worried. I wish they would give us information faster. I have friends I am very worried about.

Posted by Reader, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Feb 9, 2013 at 1:44 am

San Jose Mercury claims it was "a man". But early reports aren't always accurate, as journalists are trying to release information as fast as possible.

Posted by J, a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 9, 2013 at 3:05 am

@Mom: Actually I have spotted the guard at the E. Charleston crossing on numerous evenings over the past few weeks. Dark clothes, dark skin. I can't recall not seeing him, but I'm not always paying attention.

Posted by Misha, a resident of Gunn High School
on Feb 9, 2013 at 9:00 am

Dear Gunn Student,

For your friends you are worried about, please let their parents or trusted adult know of your concerns. Your friends' safety and well-being are critical and you can help them get help by letting someone know. People who are despondent often cannot themselves seek the help they need; this is where family, friends, and other caring people can step in.

If you see something , say something. Help save a life.

Love to you.

Posted by Concerned parent, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 9, 2013 at 9:33 am

I did see the guard last night after, the incident. I too say, I hope it is not a student because that is going to affect all of our kids, and the cycle begins again. We need to know before our kids go back to school Monday,so we can talk to them, not just the school

Posted by Not again, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 9, 2013 at 9:43 am

My very first thought on reading the report was, "Oh, no, not another student!". [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Gunn Mom, a resident of Ventura
on Feb 9, 2013 at 9:44 am

Whenever there is a fatality on the local tracks my teens check Facebook right away as they have each lost friends in the past.

The stress of waiting for news really hits us hard.

Posted by Friend, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 9, 2013 at 10:18 am

The young man was NOT a Gunn student. He is an adult and grew up in another town. But he is someone's son and brother. Our love goes out to the whole family.

Posted by Max, a resident of another community
on Feb 9, 2013 at 10:28 am

Hope the police do not issue the name to the public, and I hope the news papers do not cover this. Any extended coverage just makes the likely hood of another one that much greater.

Prayers for his friends and family.

Posted by Concerned, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2013 at 10:46 am

Yeah, weird to read about so much concern over students, as if it doesn't matter when it's not a student.

Posted by Anon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 9, 2013 at 11:30 am

Every night when I go driving by this area I see a crossing-guard standing there by the tracks ... has he reported anything yet?

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] There is a movie on NetFlix, probably elsewhere called "The Bridge" documenting leaps off the Golden Gate. There is one guy who lived who is interviewed. It might be a source of inspiration for anyone considering an action like this.

> Yeah, weird to read about so much concern over students, as if it doesn't matter when it's not a student.

Forget student, non-student ... there's lots of concern after someone is gone and maybe not so much when they are still here.

It just seems obvious to me when suicide in America is such a large number that there is something wrong with our society ... for all the people who commit suicide, how many are wallowing in depression and despair so that a tiny few at the top can strut like roosters?

Posted by Anti-Censor, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2013 at 11:51 am

I hope they DO publicize the name in the newspapers because it's their duty as journalists. Otherwise, people have to gossip to find out the name, and all the people who knew him or knew of him would want to attend the funeral. It would just make people talk more if they don't know the name, which makes it even more publicity for the suicide, which is what we shouldn't do.

Posted by Agree, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2013 at 12:03 pm

I'm with anti-censor. Many things go into increasing risks, newspaper stories are not the only or the most significant. Trying to hide it only makes people feel like there is an attempt to hide it and results in more social media buzz and disrespect of the victim. People who want to reduce risks can find plenty to do to help that we are either not doing or only giving the appearance of doing.

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 9, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Privacy laws re suicide have charged in the past 15 years, so it doesn't matter what you want. Sheesh.

Posted by Gunn Student, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 9, 2013 at 12:32 pm

I would like you all to take a moment and realize that the reasons this man possibly chose to take his own life was because he no longer valued his life. The only way to stop this from happening again and again, as we have experienced as a community far too much, is to make each and every person in your own life feel that THEIR life is worth living. Please use this tragedy as an opportunity to asses how you deal with those still living... remember, we can only move forward.

Posted by Student, a resident of Gunn High School
on Feb 9, 2013 at 1:08 pm

While it's certainly somewhat relieving to hear that it wasn't a member of our student population, blessings goes out to the man's family.

Posted by Parent, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Feb 9, 2013 at 1:48 pm

Dear Students,

For those of you worried about friends, please reach out to adults around you. We are here and want to help. We could be a parent you know now or when you were younger. We could be a teacher from any grade level, or a counselor at any school. We could be your neighbor, your coach. Don't be too shy to talk to us because we care.

local mom

Posted by PSN, a resident of Community Center
on Feb 9, 2013 at 4:52 pm

It has confirmed that the deceased is not a student. If anyone you know needs help, please refer to this County web site of resources:

Web Link


Or call: 1-855-278-4204 Toll-free Suicide Crisis Hotline.

Posted by Friend, a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 9, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Just so parents are not worried, it was not a student. He was my friend, and a good man, and I will love him and cherish our time together for the rest of my life. Good bye old friend.

Posted by KP, a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 11, 2013 at 10:39 am

KP is a registered user.

First off, it says a man in his 20's.
Regardless, people make and are RESPONSIBLE for their own decisions. Unfortunately, it sometimes affects others. The train had 200 people on it...I feel for them!

Posted by gmdea1959, a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 11, 2013 at 11:53 am

gmdea1959 is a registered user.

odds are that this was yet another suicide. Why doesn't that surprise me. For some reason the east meadow crossing is becoming a popular to spot for people to end their lives. But what I would like to know is why this crossing grade as oppose to all the others people can choose from. I'm sorry if someone is bent on killing themselves they will find a way no matter how hard cal train tries to fix the problem. if they can't kill themselves by train they will just go jump off a bridge.

Posted by yodasnaps, a resident of Ventura
on Feb 11, 2013 at 9:15 pm

yodasnaps is a registered user.

Though my heart goes out to all the families, and others, grieving the loss of loved ones on the Caltrain tracks, I say enough is enough! When is there going to be change? Whether there is high speed rail or not, the at-grade crossings need to be changed. Access to the train tracks needs to be made more difficult. If a bike/pedestrian tunnel can be put in downtown, so can automotive tunnels. Caltrain will do nothing unless we citizens speak up loudly. City leaders need to lead on this matter too. Speak Up! Enough is enough!

Posted by isez, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Feb 12, 2013 at 8:32 am

isez is a registered user.

@yodasnaps: Blaming the trains is just ignorant. People can run onto the freeways too. The train runs from SJ to SF so there are too many areas to access the train tracks. The trains help more people than not and help the environment. Where we formerly lived out-of-state, there were no trains yet people found ways to commit suicide. We can't control others.

Posted by rick, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 12, 2013 at 11:33 am

rick is a registered user.

How did this Sunnyvale guy get up here? Car, bus, . . . train? Odd that East Meadow is more attractive than the several access points in Sunnyvale. Any serious ideas why? And what we could do about it? Or did this individual have some Palo Alto connection that drew him here?

Posted by Cedric de La Beaujardiere, a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 13, 2013 at 2:45 am

Cedric de La Beaujardiere is a registered user.

My sympathies go out to the family and friends of Jonathan Lazarus, and to Jonathan himself.

@isez: Actually, studies show that most suicides are spur of the moment decisions, and that adding just a little difficulty to the act introduces delays and more time to reconsider, and attempts go down. For instance, some pill commonly used to overdose, in Europe I think, the packaging was changed so that you would need to get many boxes of it, or maybe it was open many packets within one box, to get enough for an overdose, and they saw a reduction in the number of suicides. It didn't just shift the method, but actually reduced the numbers in total. So making it more difficult to get at the tracks would also help.

@yodasnaps: Unfortunately, grade-separating autos from trains is much more difficult and expensive than for bikes/peds. For instance, if the road goes down into a trench, then there needs to be a long ramp on either side, which can block access for homes whose driveways would be blocked by the ramp. And do you bring Alma down as well, and so you've got all those driveways to deal with too. Or you need to leave the road at its current level and raise or lower the tracks, which gets into some of the issues people complained about for High Speed Rail. I support grade separation, and HSR would have or will require it, but it is not as easy to do as yodasnaps seems to hope.