On Friday, June 14th a 17-year-old bicyclist was hit by an Amtrak Pacific Surfliner train and died. 

The incident occurred near the intersection of Sorrento Valley Road and Sorrento Valley Boulevard just before 1 pm. According to LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency, Jason Jewell stated the boy was struck inside the crossing by Pacific Surfliner train 770 at approximately 12:46 pm. San Diego Police Lieutenant Jack Resch said that police responded to reports of the accident at the Sorrento Valley Boulevard grade crossing where the boy was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Deputies interviewed eyewitnesses who said three boys on bicycles stopped at the crossing arms to allow a train heading north to pass. After the northbound train passed, the 17-year-old entered the tracks to cross without realizing the southbound train was approaching. 

Officials have not released the name of the boy.

The Importance of Rail Safety

Every three hours a person or vehicle is hit by a train in the United States. 

Unfortunately, railroad grade crossings are the most common site for accidents. Trains are large locomotives that weigh between 200 – 6,000 tons and travel at a high rate of speed. Due to their size and weight, the force of impact is very likely to cause death. 

When encountering a grade crossing, safety is paramount. Some safety tips to keep in mind before crossing are:

  • Trains are bigger than their tracks: often, trains extend three or more feet from their rails, so it is important to give them a wide berth for your safety. 
  • It takes trains a long time to stop: It can take trains over a mile to come to a stop, so it is important for both cars and pedestrians to not try to “beat” a train.
  • A train can pass at any time: some trains don’t have fixed travel times, and schedules for others can change often, so you should expect a train to pass at any moment.

“Our hearts go out to the family who lost their 17-year-old child this past weekend,” says Brett Schreiber, attorney at Singleton Schreiber, “as a personal injury lawyer, I’ve seen firsthand how deaths like this affect family units emotionally, mentally, and financially.

“I believe it is important to note that the family, and others facing similar situations, may have legal recourse and could consider speaking with a personal injury lawyer to learn more about their options.”

Potential avenues of legal recourse could include:

  • Wrongful Death Claim: if the train operators or rail company was negligent in any way
  • Premises Liability Claim: if the crossing where the accident occurred was found to be dangerous or improperly maintained 
  • Negligence Per Se: if the defendant is found to have violated a statute or regulation designed to protect, for example, if the crossing did not comply with federal or state safety standards

If you have lost a loved one in a train accident, contact the San Diego injury lawyers at Singleton Schreiber by calling (619) 771-3473 or by email at info@singletonschreiber.com to learn more about your options.