Tuesday, May 18, 1993

Blue Line Accident in Willowbrook

2 Men in Stolen Car Die in Collision With Train

Los Angeles Times
Nieson Himmel
May 19, 1993

LOS ANGELES - Two men in a stolen car were killed and four passengers on a Blue Line train suffered minor injuries Tuesday when the car went past a lowered crossing gate and collided with the train in Willowbrook, officials said.

County fire officials said one man died at the scene and the second, who had to be extricated with emergency equipment, died at Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center. The engine of the northbound commuter train had to be lifted off the stolen blue car before the man could be removed.

"The car was dragged 300 feet after the impact," said Charlotte Kramer, supervising dispatcher for the Fire Department. "The chief at the scene told us the car had been stolen."

The dead men were said to be in their mid-20s; no further identification was available Tuesday night.

About 100 people were aboard the two-car train. Northbound Blue Line trains were delayed for half an hour, then resumed their 22-mile runs on the second track after the 7:30 p.m. crash at Stockwell Street and Willowbrook Avenue.

The injured passengers were treated at the medical center and released.

Since it began operating in July, 1990, the Blue Line has been plagued by accidents resulting from cars being driven around crossing barriers. As of January, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority had counted 148 Blue Line accidents, with 12 fatalities: nine motorists and three pedestrians.