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.