Repairs underway after fatal crash between car, Caltrain

MENLO PARK, Calif. (KGO) -- Thousands of commuters were late getting home Monday night after a fatal car and Caltrain accident in Menlo Park. The car was struck at the intersection of Ravenswood Avenue around 4:45 p.m.

SKY7 HD shows the car's frame crumpled like a foil candy wrapper. From the street, the wreckage looked even worse.

"The whole front of the engine was destroyed, none of the front of the car was there. It was shattered," Javier Zuniga, a witness, said.

A southbound express train moving at about 79 miles per hour struck the car. Preliminary reports indicate the railroad gate crossing was working.

"We're not far from El Camino and when the light turns red cars will back up all the way across the tracks and what happened is one person stopped on the tracks," said Caltrain spokesperson Mark Simon.

Crews extricated the 30-year-old female driver from the passenger side of the vehicle and then rushed her to Stanford Hospital. She died a short time later.

Menlo Park's fire chief says a child's safety seat was in the backseat, but it was unoccupied.

About 400 passengers were on the train that made impact. While the train suffered significant damage, no one on board was injured.

Thousands of additional commuters dealt with delays.

"I thought I would wait it out, I waited for two hours and it's still not sorted out so I'm taking the bus," Emma O'Neil, a Caltrain commuter said.

All trains were stopped in both directions until about 5:30 p.m. when a single track was opened through the area, Caltrain officials said.

Shortly before 7:30 p.m., the southbound tracks were cleared and trains were allowed to run through the area, Caltrain officials said.

The Ravenswood Avenue crossing remained closed to cars Tuesday morning while crews worked to repair the gate and signal.

In another incident Monday night, a man was struck and killed by an out-of-service Caltrain heading south in a tunnel in San Francisco. The collision occurred in Tunnel One shortly after 9 p.m., Caltrain spokeswoman Jayme Ackemann said.

BART said they would continue to accept Caltrain tickets at Millbrae for passengers heading north to San Francisco, Caltrain officials said.

No further details were immediately available.

Bay City News contributed to this report.
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