Nine die in Californian crash

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The Independent US

A car parked across a railway line derailed a Los Angeles commuter service yesterday, which then collided with two other trains, killing at least nine people and injuring hundreds.

Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca said the crash, involving two commuter trains and a goods train, was an outrage.

He said: "It didn't appear the vehicle had stalled. It appears it was deliberately placed there. This all happened because of someone putting their vehicle in harm's way and endangering the lives of hundreds of passengers." Sheriff Baca said the driver, who was being questioned by police, could face multiple murder charges and the death penalty. "He will be held responsible for this outrageous irresponsibility."

A fire department official said it appeared to be an attempted suicide but the driver decided not to go through with it and left the vehicle just before the crash. Firemen and rescue workers picked through wreckage scattered across the tracks near Union Station and carried injured passengers to a triage centre set up in a car park.

One train was heading from Union station to Burbank airport and the other was bound for Union station from Moorpark. Officials say the train coming into the station crashed into the Jeep, veered off the tracks and struck a goods train. The goods train in turn jack-knifed on to the outbound train. "We rumbled and we just started to twist," said Nelson Goyzueta, a passenger on the inbound train. "We're shell-shocked right now." Passengers were sent tumbling down the aisles as the trains derailed.

"I heard a noise. It got louder and louder," said a passenger, Diane Brady, 56, of Simi Valley. "And next thing I knew the train tilted, everyone was screaming and I held on to a pole for dear life. I held on for what seemed like a week and a half. It was a complete nightmare."