A 29-year-old Palo Alto native died early Tuesday morning when his Volkswagen was struck by a train traveling through Redwood City, according to the California Highway Patrol and the San Mateo County Coroner's Office.
Pierre-Alexandre Meloty-Kapella of Redwood City, was driving the Volkswagen on Buckingham Avenue at about 1:20 a.m. when it went through a fence and landed on the Caltrain tracks.
A maintenance train traveling north on a sidetrack that is used mainly by freight trains hit the Volkswagen and killed Meloty-Kapella.
His company website said his firm pacmk.com was a one-man show that he founded in the summer of 2016.
Meloty-Kapellawas a 2005 Palo Alto High School graduate, He won the Hamilton Award as one of Paly's Athletes of the Year.
He was a legislative fellow in the U.S. House of Representatives for three months in 2009, according to his LinkedIn profile. He went to Williams College in Massachusetts.
Northbound and southbound tracks were blocked for about four hours, Caltrain officials said.
CHP Officer Art Montiel said officers are looking into whether drugs or alcohol played a part in the crash or whether Meloty-Kapella fell asleep at the wheel.
Montiel said there was no indication such as skid marks that Meloty-Kapella tried to stop before his vehicle went through the fence.
Caltrain officials said the train hit the Volkswagen and dragged it several feet just a few minutes after it landed on the tracks. The crash remains under investigation.