A Metrolink train fatally struck a driver who tried to cross its tracks while the railroad arms were down in Santa Ana Monday evening, authorities said.
Officials responded around 5:30 p.m. to the 800 block of South Grand Avenue after receiving several calls about the crash, said Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna.
An officer who was nearby, as well as the Orange County Fire Authority, were able to reach the scene within minutes, Bertagna said.
When they arrived, they found one person inside the vehicle who was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics, Bertagna said.
A pit bull was also inside the car at the time of the collision and was transported to the Orange County Emergency Pet Clinic in Garden Grove to be treated for minor injuries. Police initially called the facility the Garden Grove Animal Hospital.
Witnesses told police that the vehicle's driver was traveling north on Grand Avenue when the railroad arms came down. The driver yielded to the train, which was headed southeast.
But once it passed, the motorist decided to go before a second oncoming train could pass.
“And then, for whatever reason, (he or she) hit the accelerator to get through the tracks and was struck by a train that was traveling northwest,” Bertagna said.
The train propelled the vehicle 680 feet, but it is unclear how fast it was traveling before it came to a stop.
There were approximately 219 passengers aboard the train, but none reported injuries. The commuters would be shuttled to their destinations, according to Bertagna.
All lanes were expected be closed for several hours on South Grand Avenue between McFadden and Chestnut avenues as investigators worked the scene.