OXNARD (CBSLA.com) — Union Pacific officials are cracking down on train-crossing violators in Oxnard in the wake of a crash that killed a train engineer.
During a five-hour operation, 51 motorists and five trespassers were cited for train-crossing violations. The violations all occurred along the line where a Metrolink train derailed Feb. 24 after hitting a pickup that had been abandoned after taking a wrong turn onto the tracks.
The train’s engineer, Glen Steele, died a week after the crash, which also injured 31 passengers and two other crew members.
Union Pacific Engineer Shawn Smith said he thanks God every day that he’s gone 25 years without hitting anyone with his train and that all engineers and conductors share that sentiment.
“I know what he’s going through, because he’s trying to figure out how he’s going to stop this train in time, without hurting this person, even though knowing it’s inevitable he’s going to hurt that person,” Smith said of the engineer who died.
Union Pacific’s safety campaign, UP Cares, is working to educate motorists and pedestrians on the dangers of crossing train tracks. There are more than 900 trespassing incidents nationwide and over 500 of those incidents result in fatalities, according to Union Pacific Road Operations Manager Greg Wallen.