Menlo Park: No injuries reported after crash on Caltrain tracks

An SUV collided with the Caltrain gate apparatus and blocked the Caltrain tracks for about 45 minutes the morning of Jan. 18. (Photo by Andrea Gemmet.)

A 2010 Toyota SUV crashed Friday morning at the Caltrain crossing at Ravenswood Avenue in Menlo Park, blocking the northbound rail line for about 45 minutes and triggering restricted southbound speeds, according to Dan Lieberman, Caltrain spokesperson.

No injuries were reported, he confirmed.

Chris Bruegge, who works at Cornerstone Research and has a clear view from his office of the Caltrain intersection, said that at around 9:25 a.m., he saw a single car traveling eastbound on Ravenswood Avenue toward Middlefield Road, with no other cars nearby.

He said he heard a loud bang and saw that the vehicle had jumped the sidewalk and flattened a sign before it "continued to ping-pong back and forth along the Caltrain crossing." The car then continued across the tracks and collided with the pole arm, the mechanism that lowers the rail crossing gates. The vehicle, he said, continued to block the northbound tracks for another half hour or so.

Menlo Park Police Watch Commander Jeff Cooley confirmed that the vehicle first crashed into a sign post, then a guard rail on the sidewalk before crashing into the pole arm.

Bruegge said he didn't see what had caused the driver to lose control of the vehicle. Later, he said he observed the vehicle's occupants, a driver and a toddler-aged passenger, exit the vehicle, appearing to be uninjured.

Watch Commander Cooley said he didn't know what caused the collision; there was no indication of drunk driving or driving under the influence.

There were no visible injuries, but the driver and the young passenger were transported by medical responders to make sure there were no internal injuries, he said.

Lieberman said that a tow truck arrived on the scene at about 10 a.m., and as of about 10:30 a.m., the speed restrictions on trains had been lifted.

The pole arm at the rail crossing was damaged in the collision, he said. Caltrain staff are protecting the crossing in person until pole arm is replaced. (Caltrain workers were also working at the site before the collision occurred.) He said he expects the pole arm to be replaced later today or possibly tomorrow.


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8 people like this
Posted by lnon
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jan 18, 2019 at 12:54 pm

I crossed the tracks this morning at about 9:10. There were maintenance workers working on the traffic arms, the lights were flashing but no trains were coming either way. No one was directing traffic, so it was unclear what was going on. Are the lights flashing because a train is coming or because the semi-oblivious workers are working on the movable arms. They did not do a good job of directing traffic there. Could that confusion have caused the accident??

Like this comment
Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 18, 2019 at 10:17 pm

Same thing Thurs about 11:30am. CalTrain(?) workers basically wandering across the street and tracks.

6 people like this
Posted by MP Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 19, 2019 at 12:00 pm

Anybody whose driving skills are not up to dealing with some road / track work without crashing needs to return their license to the crackerjack box from whence it came.

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