LOS ANGELES, CA – A sport utility vehicle broadsided an MTA commuter train during the Friday morning rush hour, causing a fire and injuring six people in the second Gold Line crash in two weeks, authorities said.
The Metro Gold Line train was heading from downtown Los Angeles north to Pasadena when it was struck shortly after 7 a.m. in the Mount Washington area, said David Sotero, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
"The SUV T-boned the train when the crossing gates were down," he said.
It was unclear whether the truck went around the lowered gate or smashed through it, he said. Televised reports showed the crossing gate broken off and lying on the ground.
A witness told officials the SUV went around the crossing arm, Los Angeles County sheriff's Lt. Ron Kegel said.
About 20 people were on the train, he said.
The train was going about 20 mph when it was struck, Sotero said.
Kegel said even at that speed, the operator didn't have time to avoid the vehicle.
"The train is several tons. Just the inertia of going even 20 mph, it's going to take some distance before that train can stop," Kegel said.
The train caught fire. It was quickly extinguished but the train was significantly damaged, fire officials said.
Four train passengers, the train's operator and the SUV's driver were hurt, but the injuries were not life-threatening, Sotero said.
The commuter train line carries passengers between Los Angeles and suburbs east of the city.
On Sept. 11, seven people were injured when a pickup truck ran a red light at a non-gated crossing in the Highland Park area northeast of downtown -- two blocks away from Friday's accident -- and struck a train during the morning rush hour. The truck was pinned between the train and a concrete pillar.