Palo Alto native killed in train-vehicle crash | News | Palo Alto Online |


Palo Alto native killed in train-vehicle crash

California Highway Patrol looking into whether drugs, alcohol played a role

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 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.


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27 people like this
Posted by Train Neighbor
a resident of Ventura
on Sep 5, 2017 at 1:48 pm

Train Neighbor is a registered user.

Sending sympathies to Mr. Meloty-Kapella's family and friends.

11 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 6, 2017 at 10:12 am

This is a sad story and it will be interesting to discover if drugs and alcohol, or falling asleep at the wheel will be considered causes for this accident. RIP to the victim and sympathies to the family.

[Portion removed.]

21 people like this
Posted by Mike Piha
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 6, 2017 at 3:14 pm

Pierre will be deeply missed, leaving behind those fond memories of his big smile, friendship, can-do attitude and thoughtful social media strategies he provided for our start-up company HitCheck over this past year. He was a brilliant young man who was on a great path to success.

I coached Pierre in youth football for the Palo Alto Knights where he excelled on and off the field and was fortunate to be a part of his professional career as he approached me earlier this year to support HitCheck through his newly founded social media company, pacmk. I am so proud of the young man he became and his passion and drive as an entrepreneur, Pierre made a positive impact on the development and awareness of our growth at HitCheck. He also “coached” me on how to build a successful social media campaign and the impact of “doing it right” and how it will enhance our success.

No words can express the sadness of Pierre's death or my gratitude for the opportunity to coach and work with him. Out team will honor his memory by dedicating ourselves to excelling in what he started for us at HitCheck, by continuing an outstanding social media awareness campaign to help keep young athletes safe from possible concussion symptoms.

Coach Mike

1 person likes this
Posted by Kapella
a resident of another community
on Sep 8, 2017 at 5:56 am

I was her aunt,so sad to known that Pierre'll miss us so much! I never kiss him but was looking at him every week by face! I don't understant that tragedy in our family... Was so a good one! I so sad! All your messages for our family, thanks! And tell me WHY!!!

Kapella Luboko Kéo-Nicole

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