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Death on RR Tracks?

Original post made by Not Again, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2016

What happened Saturday morning about 10:30 a.m.? At the Charleston railroad crossing, a PAPD car-- lights flashing-- was parked on the west side of the tracks; a CalTrans SUV was parked on the east side of the tracks; two track guards were tail g to the officers, a what appeared to be a large, brand new BMW, apparently fresh.y wrecked, was facing into the fence on the west side of the tracks.

Wad this an unfortunate accident, a suicide attempt, or something else?

I have not heard or read any report of what happened hear.

Comments (21)

Posted by Not again
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2016 at 12:38 pm

The car was obviously totaled, the front end wrecked badly enough that if anyone survived, the had to have been severely injured!


Posted by parent
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 6, 2016 at 1:14 pm

I don't know what happened this time, but in most recent train vs car collisions in Palo Alto and Menlo Park, the car was abandoned empty on the tracks before it was hit by the train.

I do not see anything on the Caltrain Twitter feed, which usually announces anything that causes a train delay. Are you sure a train hit the car? Maybe two cars crashed into each other near the train tracks or one car hit a telephone pole nearby?


Posted by Not again
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2016 at 4:25 pm

The car didn't appear to have side impact damage; however, I did not get a close look. The front end looked like an accordion.

I don't know if they were waiting for an ambulance, fire truck, or what, but there was only one police car, one Cal
Trans Transit Police car, and the two track guards wearing yellow raincoats. It was an accident of some sort on the tracks.

BTW, the arms of the track crossing gate were down on both sides, and no cars could cross the tracks. The lights of the crossing gate were flashing, as well.

Many cars slowed to look, and there had to be witnesses. Strange that there is no report. It was a very expensive BMW. Is information being withheld?


Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 7, 2016 at 9:39 am

A car crash with no major injuries and no major traffic delays is not going to be reported by the press. There are just too many car crashes around town. Wouldn't there be an ambulance at the scene if there was a major injury?


Posted by Not again
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 7, 2016 at 11:10 am

According to another witness, the accident had just happened. Ambulance DID come later, about five minutes after I passed by.

That's the only info I have gotten, from another witness.

However, two hours later, at Peet's Coffee, near Charleston and Middlefield, a group of people at a nearby table were discussing it. The car was apparently NOT hit by a train.

Sunday morning, when we went to breakfast at Joanie's, people waiting in line were discussing this crash. That's when I learned that an ambulance was indeed called to the scene.


Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 7, 2016 at 3:59 pm

If there was only 1 car at the scene, what did hit it? Was this a hit-and-run or self-inflicted? Brand new high-powered BMW was too much car for someone?


Posted by Not again
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2016 at 7:07 am

My first thought was suicide attempt. But there was no damage to the fence the car was facing. Another car, in a hit-and-run, maybe? The car was one of those BIG BMW hybrids.... Cost about $100,000!


Posted by Eye witness
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 8, 2016 at 7:52 am

I saw the accident. The kid slipped on the metal with the high torque motor after the light for the straight through went red. He was trying to make a right, but instead made a right onto the tracks. Hit the pole around 15-20mph. Got out of the car, was a K-pop looking kid driving with suits or something in the passenger seat.


Posted by Not again
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2016 at 8:26 pm

[Post removed.]


Posted by HUTCH 7.62
a resident of Portola Valley
on Mar 9, 2016 at 9:42 am

[Post removed.]


Posted by Not again
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2016 at 9:46 am

Kpop refers to Korean Pop Music-- like " Psi" and " GangnamStyle" ( a popular song a few yrs back).

Not a slur-- a description of a VERY stylish Adian teen!

[Portion removed.]


Posted by Born in USA
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 9, 2016 at 10:25 am

[Portion removed due to deletion of referenced comment.] There are no driving classes for teens and others these days - it's all online learning, which isn't as effective as classroom learning. And when a person turns 18, there isn't any practice driving necessary - just pass the written test and driving test. Teens need 50 hours on the road (honor system) and 6 hours of driving school (hokey certificate).

One thing I learned in driver's ed back at Paly in the 70s (that is relevant to living in Palo Alto )was the law for right turns into bike lanes. When turning right, drive into the bike lane prior to reaching the corner. The green bike lane line breaks prior to the corner and that's when a driver is supposed to drive into the bike lane before turning. This alerts bikers that the car is going to turn right, as opposed to pulling up to the corner and suddenly cutting them off.


Posted by Not again
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2016 at 12:52 pm

Doesn't the DMV give a road test any longer?

How do these teens, and many foreign drivers who only recently learned to drive, pass the test if there are no driving schools left?

There are many foreign drivers who drive on international drivers licenses-- and those don't require a road test first.
We had an employee who had an international license and totaled three cars in a row: fact was he had never really learned to drive.

However, most European countries will no longer allow anyone with an international license to drive, rent, or buy a car. Most Asian countries and the US still do however.


Posted by HUTCH 7.62
a resident of Portola Valley
on Mar 9, 2016 at 1:12 pm

The other problem I find is most drivers do not try to prefect their driving ablities. And the new cars with cameras and other driver assistance goodies help further degade driver abilities. As in my earlier post I wish DMV would make the driver test more difficult, more on par with the CDL test that is held to a federal standard.


Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2016 at 1:56 pm

There is a difference between an International License and a foreign license. An International license can be from anywhere and is fairly easy to obtain, but a foreign license signifies that the driver has passed a test and can drive to that country's standards. From my experience, European tests are a lot more stringent than here. They involve simple car maintenance as well as things like starting cars on a hill, 3 point turns, reversing around a corner and emergency stops. A driver who is here on a foreign license from a European country probably has had to pass a much more strict test than anywhere in USA.


Posted by Not again
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2016 at 5:33 pm

With the possible exception of France, most Europeans with licenses from their home country are excellent drivers.

However, many Asian and European nationals who come from big cities ( New York City dwellers, too) don't learn to drive until they come to the US, where it is usually a necessity. An I ternatio al license is easy to get and requires no road test. I was once hit by such a driver, when bike riding several years ago. The man had very poor skills, had learned to drive only months before, yet had been allowed, with an international license, to buy an S-Class Mercedes. He would not have been allowed, as a new driver with an international license, to buy, rent, or borrow a car in most of Europe. He tried to drive away, claimed he didn't know he had hit anyone! Fortunately I got a good look at his plates, and PAPD tracked him down...he had to pay for my knee and elbow surgeries!

When I go to Europe ( except France), I have to show my CA State Driver's License, and it is accepted. However, in most Asian countries I am only asked for an international license ( which I also have). Dubai and Abu Dhabi ask only for an international license, as well.

With the huge numbers of inexperienced foreign drivers coming to Silicon Valley, the requirements need to be upgraded! It is a safety issue.


Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 9, 2016 at 8:20 pm

License? The most common driving citation appears to be driving with a suspended or revoked license or no license at all.


Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 9, 2016 at 8:38 pm

[Post removed.]


Posted by Not again
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2016 at 3:45 pm

I think driving with an international license only, not a real license that is earned by passing tests, is potentially worse than driving on a upended license. At least someone whose license was suspended has actually driven a car, had experience, had formal training somewhere. Many people with international licenses only have little to no experience, or are self taught. Both, though, are a danger to the public, if for different reasons.


Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 10, 2016 at 6:21 pm

We can speculate statistically about inexperienced or self taught drivers, but unless I'm mistaken, those with suspended licenses have proven themselves to be a threat.


Posted by Long Duc Dong
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 10, 2016 at 7:23 pm

Saw PAPD searching the tracks between Churchill and Cal Ave @ 5:30 this morning


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