An attempt by a young man to commit suicide on the train tracks in Palo Alto was averted Thursday evening by a mother who took her son's words seriously aided by a passing motorist, police Agent Dan Ryan reported.
Ryan said the motorist saw the woman and youth struggling on the tracks about 8:30 p.m. a short distance north of the West Meadow Drive crossing and stopped to assist the woman, who turned out to be the youth's mother.
Police responded and took the youth into protective custody to transport him to Stanford Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation and treatment.
Ryan reported later that the youth was determined to be a 17-year-old student at Gunn High School.
"In this case a tragedy was averted," Ryan said shortly after 9 p.m. in a television interview outside a community forum dealing with breaking the stigma of adolescent depression -- and suicide -- that was attended by several hundred people.
Police halted all train traffic in the area until the scene was cleared, "as a precaution," Ryan said.
Ryan said he would get more information on the case as soon as possible. The West Meadow crossing was the scene of two adolescent suicides within a month: a 17-year-old boy on May 5 and a 17-year-old girl on June 2.
"I want to say that we have teams of doctors and counselors who can provide support. There is no need for anyone to go through this pain alone. We want to stop this cycle," Ryan said.
In response to the recent incidents, Ryan said Palo Alto police will be monitoring train intersections around-the-clock for an indefinite number of days. Additionally, officers on dirt bikes will be patrolling the railroad tracks between intersections.
Inside the Cubberley Theatre, a full-house crowd heard panelists discuss the crises young persons and their parents can experience and how best to share feelings and thoughts within families or with peers.