A Caltrain hit an unoccupied car Sunday (March 25) night in Palo Alto at the Charleston Road crossing, the second time in six weeks such an incident has happened there.
Southbound Caltrain No. 440 struck the car at 10:57 p.m., according to Caltrain spokesman Dan Lieberman. There were 173 passengers onboard at the time of the collision.
No injuries were reported.
The driver was arrested on suspicion of DUI and booked into the Santa Clara County Jail in San Jose, according to Lieberman.
On Feb. 12, another southbound train hit a car at that location. In that case, the driver said his navigation system led him to the crossing, where his car stalled. The train dragged the car about 150 yards toward San Antonio Road. The car caught fire while it was being dragged.
Was this a “stopped on tracks” failure? Or a “turned onto the tracks” failure?
Yes, please follow up and determine the circumstances.
At that late hour on a Sunday night, there is no traffic congestion to speak of … so it’s unlikely the driver illegally pulled onto the crossing without enough room to get back off again (as scofflaw drivers all-too-often negligently and illegally do in heavy congestion). That leaves mistakenly turning off the crossing while attempting to follow an in-car navigation system’s instructions to turn right onto Alma St. just beyond the crossing. Of course, most cars nowadays don’t have sufficient ground clearance to avoid getting stuck on the approximately 8-inch-tall rails.