Sacramento commuter rail collision injures 5

By Don Thompson

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, March 29 2012 4:24 p.m. MDT

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Five people were injured Thursday after a light-rail train and a vehicle collided in downtown Sacramento, authorities said.

An eastbound train collided with a BMW sedan a block south of the state Capitol shortly after 11 a.m., said Sacramento Police Sgt. Andrew Pettit.

The BMW struck another vehicle that spun out of the way. The BMW was pushed by the train into a tree, and firefighters had to cut off the roof and doors to free the driver.

The driver of the second vehicle, who was pregnant, was taken to a hospital as a precaution. Three of the six passengers aboard the two-car train complained of pain and also were transported, said Pettit and Regional Transit spokeswoman Alane Masui.

The BMW driver was taken to the hospital with what Pettit said were moderate and non-life threatening injuries.

"He's very fortunate that it didn't kill him. And that tree may have saved pedestrians walking behind that area," Pettit said. He said the car otherwise would have spun into the walkway beside the tracks, though he didn't know how many bystanders were present at the time.

"It's downtown during business hours. That accident could have been a lot worse," he said.

It was unclear whether the BMW or the two-car train caused the accident, said Pettit and Masui. Witness accounts conflicted, Pettit said, but a camera aboard the train may shed light on blame. Masui said the train was traveling less than 20 mph as it passed through the pedestrian mall area.

Buses transported other light-rail passengers around the accident scene until the rail line resumed operating about two hours after the accident, Masui said.

The collision came two months after another crash between a Sacramento commuter train and an SUV killed three people, including a 22-month-old boy.

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