Car Collides With Metro Gold Line Train

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A Metro Gold Line train struck a car on the tracks and burst into flames during the morning rush hour in Highland Park Friday.

It is any commuters worst nightmare, a head-on collision with a train and a car.

"Well I was just sitting there getting ready to go to work and I felt a big bump and people started screaming and then I saw smoke," says Steve Katz, train passenger.

The smoke was from the car bursting into flames. Authorities say that the driver 56-year-old Diane Cordero tried to beat the train at the intersection.

She broke through the crossing arm before slamming into the train head-on.

"We seen the lady hanging out of her car. She had her seat belt on so she was stuck in the car. One man first went to try to help her and then you can hear the boom, boom. The car was already on fire. It was on fire and then two other men came and helped her out," says Nellie Falcon, neighbor.

Eric Ramirez and his neighbors used a hose to put out the flames to get Cordero out.

"Me and the neighbors got together to try to help out the lady. We took out a knife and we cut the seat belt. We pulled her out," says Ramirez.

Cordero was rush to a local hospital with critical burns. Five more people including the train operator received minor injuries.

Two other commuters are happy that they did not get hurt. They were on a Metrolink train that crashed into a semi-truck in La Mirada Thursday.

"This made me feel like the second time in two days, I cannot believe it is happening one more time. You know, we are on the Metrolink yesterday and it. happened and now this one. And I just thought what was I going to tell my boss, a second time in two days," says Phil Diegelman, a train passenger.

The northbound side of the Metro Gold Line remains shut down. The southbound side is up and running.

Authorities are still trying to determine if the tracks on the northbound side were damaged in the accident.

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