Ryan Molinari/Special to the Town Crier
A southbound Caltrain crosses Castro Street Wednesday morning (July 24) as it approaches the Mountain View Caltrain Station. On Monday evening (July 22) a southbound train struck and killed a man near the Castro Street Crossing.
Updated at 3:19 p.m. on 7/23/19
An investigation is underway after a man was hit by a southbound train while trespassing on Caltrain tracks in Mountain View Monday evening (July 22), but it’s too soon to tell whether the incident was intentional or accidental, according to the transportation agency.
At 7:48 p.m., the SB284 train traveling toward the Castro Street Crossing in Mountain View struck a man trespassing near the junction, stopping all trains in the area, Caltrain officials said in their initial statement. Emergency personnel arrived on scene to examine the crime scene.
There were 118 passengers on the train; none of them reported injuries. The Caltrain Twitter account reported that the train stopped and passengers were loaded onto two other southbound trains, SB288 and SB190. The northbound track in the area was reopened at approximately 8:25 p.m. for “movement through the incident area at maximum authorized speed.” The southbound track reopened for the same service approximately an hour later, Caltrain said in their statement.
Caltrain redirected all questions about the investigation to the lead department, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office Transit Police Bureau. The bureau is the contracted law enforcement agency through the San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans) and Caltrain, according to the sheriff’s office webpage. Their duties extend from San Francisco County through Santa Clara County.
A tweet from the Mountain View Police Department noted that officers provided relief to Caltrain staff, but through “traffic control only.”
An updated statement from Caltrain late Monday night expanded on the unknown: the nature of the incident.
“No matter what the circumstances, it is always regrettable when a life is lost,” a spokesperson wrote. “Caltrain reminds everyone to be safe around train tracks. Caltrain also would like to thank our passengers for their patience as we deal with these sad situations.”
Caltrain officials declared the fatality ninth of the year on its tracks; the eighth fatality occurred approximately three hours earlier in Burlingame, where an individual – coincidentally also described as “trespassing” – was struck by a northbound train at the North Lane Crossing. In the wake of the first death of the day, Caltrain tweeted the link to an informational page on its website about what to expect in the face of an incident investigation.
“The investigation is led by the police department and supported by the railroad personnel,” officials revealed on the page. “Unfortunately, coordinating this response and completing an investigation can cause significant delays, particularly for the train involved in the incident because it is treated as a “crime” scene until the coroner and police have completed their investigation.”
The identification of the Mountain View victim is still pending, according to a representative from the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner’s Office.
When contacted by the Town Crier, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office redirected questions to Caltrain's public information officers since it is a "Caltrain matter."