Three women – identified as 41-year-old Julia Mondragon, 72-year-old Maria Nieves, Mercedes Regalado, 51 – were killed in a train accident after the vehicle in which they were traveling collided with an Amtrak train at what is believed to be an extremely dangerous crossing. According to news reports, the crossing where the fatal crash occurred is in farmland near Brentwood where Amtrak and BNSF trains pass by throughout the day and is notorious for being dangerous.
Injuries and Fatalities
The deadly collision occurred on the afternoon of June 26, when a car attempted to cross the tracks on a dirt road crossing on private land. The vehicle’s occupants were reportedly on their way to a fundraiser for someone who had died. All three women in the car were pronounced dead at the scene. Two other occupants, one of them a child, sustained major injuries and were transported by air to area hospitals. No train passengers were injured.
We offer our deepest condolences to the family members of these victims. We also wish those who were injured the very best for a speedy and complete recovery.
Local residents said they have witnessed several train accidents at that crossing. According to federal officials, there have been at least four train collisions in the exact same spot over the last two decades of which one was fatal. By some other official accounts, there were many more collisions. One fire official with the East Contra Costa fire protection district told the media that there are one to two collisions each year at that crossing.
There are no crossing arms or audible alarms such as bells at the crossing making it tricky for motorists to get across. Officials said the lack of these warning features made that a “highly potentially dangerous” as trains travel at up to 80 mph through the area.
A neighbor told the East Bay Times that he had repeatedly asked BNSF Railway, the track’s owner, to add a signed railroad crossing in the area, but they did not heed his request. Mitch Bloomfield said he placed his own signs around the tracks warning the public of trains. BNSF and the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department are investigating the incident.
It is absolutely outrageous that track’s owner, BNSF, by many accounts, has done nothing to make this crossing safer for motorists in spite being well aware of the dangers – to the extent that a neighbor had to place homemade signs warning passersby worried for their safety. In such cases, injured victims and families of deceased victims may be able to seek compensation for their tremendous losses from several concerned parties.
Our hearts go out to the all those who were injured and lost loved ones in this crash. We hope victims and their families receive grief counseling in the aftermath of this traumatic event and also seek the counsel of an experienced California train accident lawyers who will stay on top of the official investigation, fight for their rights and make sure they receive maximum compensation for their losses.