Friday, April 13, 2007

Blue Line Totals SUV in Long Beach

Blue Line collides with SUV

Long Beach Press-Telegram
By Tomio Geron
April 13, 2007

An SUV traveling southbound on Long Beach Boulevard made a wrong-way turn onto Seventh Street in front of a Metro train, which totaled the SUV and resulted in severe damage to the front of the train. A passenger in the SUV was treated at the scene.

The accident occurred when the driver of a silver Ford Expedition traveling southbound on Long Beach Boulevard made a wrong turn heading east onto westbound Seventh Street.

The southbound train, with about 75 passengers aboard, struck the SUV and dragged it a short distance through the intersection before stopping.

The driver of the SUV was uninjured, but was taken to a hospital as a precaution, said Will Nash, a Long Beach Fire Department spokesman.

A passenger in the vehicle was treated and released at the scene.

There were no injuries reported among the train riders, said Metro spokesman Jose Ubaldo.

Long Beach Boulevard was closed to traffic for several hours between Sixth and Eighth streets while emergency crews responded to the scene and removed the SUV, which was stuck to the front of the train.

The Blue Line was diverted around the damaged train and continued to operate in both directions. Ubaldo said the damaged train would be taken to a yard to be inspected or repaired. Nash said he did not know why the driver tried to make the illegal turn.

The SUV had Pennsylvania license plates, Nash said.

Trenton Barnett, 31, of Long Beach, was eating breakfast in a McDonald's restaurant that is directly in front of where the accident occurred.

"I heard screaming, then I saw the train was dragging the truck to a complete stop," Barnett said.