Man killed by train in Mountain View

Fatality is seventh of the year for commuter rail service

A southbound Caltrain struck and killed a man Wednesday night on the tracks south of the San Antonio station in Mountain View, according to a Caltrain spokeswoman.

The man was struck at about 6:50 p.m., spokeswoman Christine Dunn said. The incident remains under investigation, and two hours after the incident officials had not yet determined whether the man's action was intentional or accidental, she said.

The 400 passengers aboard train No. 382, which operates on Caltrain's Baby Bullet express service and makes select stops, were transferred to another train that would continue south to the San Jose Diridon station.

Dunn said a bus was provided for passengers on the following Baby Bullet train, No. 386, which was scheduled to reach the Sunnyvale station at

7:21 p.m.

Both tracks in the area of the incident were closed as of 8:30 p.m.

This is the seventh fatality on the Caltrain tracks this year, of which three were determined to be suicides and three remain under investigation. Last year there were 11 fatalities.

— Bay City News Service

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Like this comment
Posted by Local Observer
a resident of Los Altos
on Jun 1, 2011 at 9:56 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Like this comment
Posted by Tomas
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jun 1, 2011 at 10:27 pm

RIP John.

Like this comment
Posted by qq
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 1, 2011 at 10:29 pm

I spoke to a Mountain View officer right after the incident. I also have photos and video if the media are interested.

A sad, sad night for all.


Like this comment
Posted by secondtime
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 1, 2011 at 10:29 pm

One life is gone forever with his saddness and happiness,there is no next time for him,too late.

Like this comment
Posted by Not-Much-Information-Here
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2011 at 7:58 am

Given how the local media sanitizes these news reports about Caltrain deaths, why bother running them at all? There is little/no follow-up on these events, particularly since it takes months for the investigations to complete.

Given the high number of suicides by this particular device, there have not been even any media reports on why this particular mode of suicide is popular--given the numerous ways available to people.

What good is being "educated" .. when you can't even talk about death?

Like this comment
Posted by sb
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 2, 2011 at 9:53 am

This has been ongoing issue. I thought US values life other than anything then why this issue is ignored every single time. Why authorities are so incapable of taking action or do something about it. Please no blame game theory. This is a serious problem which requires urgent and a rational solution that am sure can be only attained with combined effort of city, people and Caltrain.

Like this comment
Posted by Kevin
a resident of another community
on Jun 2, 2011 at 10:00 am


This is strictly a hunch on my part, and probably wrong, but: I'm wondering if the trend here is to move away from detailed accounts of such incidents. It could be that one of the reasons this mode of suicide is popular is *because* of the media coverage.

Note that suicides off the Golden Gate Bridge seldom draw any coverage. (By the way, more people killed themselves on the bridge last year than on the Caltrain tracks: Web Link)

Like this comment
Posted by DZ
a resident of Terman Middle School
on Jun 2, 2011 at 10:40 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Like this comment
Posted by iniesta
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jun 2, 2011 at 11:47 am

The tracks must be elevated ,or train should lower the speed and stop at very crossing then proceed at restricted speed 15mph .The gate crossing should go down 1 min earlier before train aproach the crossing or station .

Like this comment
Posted by JT
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 2, 2011 at 2:49 pm

In response to "not much information here", I'm pleased to see some of the local media have moved away from detailed coverage of these events. I'm disappointed the Weekly (and others) still treats these incidents as major headlines. I realize things are desperate in the media business, and people who have websites will do just about anything to increase their "pageviews" ... but one of the other papers here has decided to simply report these incidents in the police blotter in the hope that copycat incidents can be reduced. Seems like the responsible way to go. I hope the Weekly/Palo Alto Online follows their lead.

Like this comment
Posted by Legs
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 2, 2011 at 3:20 pm

We are new to Palo Alto, moving from San Francisco. There may be many good reasons for Hi Speed rail along this line (However, mostly one hears about all the good reasons NOT to have it.) There is no doubt that these crossings are lethal and that elevating the trains or trenching could eliminate many of these deaths.

The idea that the Hi Speed rail would be a benefit to the community as a result of the new trains seems overlooked or not important. This head in the sand approach might appear to outsiders as though Palo Alto is a self- absorbed, backward community.

Like this comment
Posted by Charlie
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 2, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Don't Assume! We need some sort of sensors to detect any object on the path of the crossing track instead of just the one-min timer.

Like this comment
Posted by Legs
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 2, 2011 at 3:55 pm

You haven't been here very long so you may not know that Palo Alto supports High Speed Rail IF it is trenched or tunneled.

Please get involved and learn a little more about your new community before you criticize. High Speed Rail planners made huge practical and political errors in their planning process. This is what happens when you have an under-supervised network of consultants planning a complex project.

City of Palo Alto take note and apply this knowledge as you do infill and associated transportation planning. We need a strong Transportation staff. Recent hire has been a step in the right direction, but the group is swamped and they need better human resource investment.

Like this comment
Posted by Enough!
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 2, 2011 at 4:35 pm

No one is 'accidentally' killed by a train, unless they fall off or have some other very obvious mishap. Trains are large, loud and announce their presence in advance.

Like this comment
Posted by moi
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2011 at 8:10 pm

I feel bad for the the train engineer.
Everyone else should, also.

Like this comment
Posted by Sad but true
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 2, 2011 at 10:49 pm

It isn't reasonable to put the train up or underground--way too costly. Some people will want to end their life. A train is one way, but most suicides are poisons, overdoses of pills, and many other options.

Like this comment
Posted by Gloria
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 2, 2011 at 11:19 pm

Why would be authorities responsible for keeping people from the tracks in addition to what has already been in place (barriers, sounds, lights flashing) ...
In Europe and other continents have been trains for centuries and people LEARNED how to avoid getting under the trains.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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