Wednesday, December 22, 1999

Car Hit by Blue Line Ricochets into Another

7 Suffer Minor Injuries When Train Hits Car

Los Angeles Times
By John L. Mitchell
December 23, 1999

An automobile drove around a closed crossing gate and was struck by a Metro Blue Line train Wednesday in Watts, resulting in minor injuries to seven people, an MTA official said.

The crash occurred about 11:08 a.m. as the southbound train traveled through the three-sided intersection at 114th Street and Wilmington and Willowbrook avenues, said Gary Wosk of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

The train was preparing to stop at the upcoming Imperial / Wilmington station when an elderly man drove his car around the crossing gate, Wosk said. The train operator was 90 feet away when he noticed the car and applied his emergency brakes, but the train clipped the car's right rear, sending it about 100 feet down Wilmington Avenue, where it rear-ended another auto.

Five people on the train complained of neck and back pain, and four were taken to hospitals, Wosk said. The drivers of both cars also suffered minor injuries and were treated.

The accident caused a 40-minute disruption of service.

Since 1992, there have been nine accidents between cars and Blue Line trains, including four fatalities, along that stretch of Wilmington Avenue that includes at least three intersections. Since the Blue Line opened in 1990, there have been 53 fatalities in accidents involving cars and pedestrians, Wosk said.