Bike rider killed by Metrolink train in Baldwin Park

Multiple sources are reporting that a man was killed by a Metrolink train while walking his bike in Baldwin Park Friday night.

Carlos Jacinto DeSantiago, a 49-year old Norwalk resident, was walking his bike west on Ramona Blvd at Downey Avenue at 7:28 pm when he stepped under a railroad crossing arm, and walked onto the tracks in front of the oncoming train.

No explanation was given for why he stepped in front of the train, Metrolink #335 on the San Bernardino  line. Witnesses reported that he went under the train after he was hit; Baldwin Park police say he suffered multiple injuries, and was pronounced dead at the scene at 8:01 pm.

With all due respect to the victim, there is no collision easier for a cyclist to avoid than a wreck with a train.

Unlike motor vehicles, which can roam freely throughout the roadway, trains are confined to a set space and a predetermined schedule. All you have to do is stay off those tracks at that time to avoid getting hit.

And the easiest way to do that is to never, ever ride or walk under, around or through the warning gates, or cross the tracks when warning signals are on.

Why DeSantiago didn’t do that will probably never be known.

This is the 59th cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 16th in Los Angeles County. DeSantiago was the second cyclist killed in Baldwin Park in 2012, and the second SoCal rider killed in a collision with a train this year, both in L.A. County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Carlos Jacinto DeSantiago, and all his family and loved ones.

8 comments

  1. I’m familiar with this intersection and it is somewhat confusing since the tracks pass at a diagonal through the Downing and Ramona intersection. Coming westbound on the south sidewalk there are no pedestrian gates or obstacle courses, similar to that found along the Gold Line or the Orange County Metrolink line, and there are no flashing lights that are aimed at the people on the south sidewalk. If you are on the north sidewalk going west you would see the flashing lights, however this crossing is notorious for long gate down times.

    When the Metrolink is in the station (west of the intersection), going eastbound, the crossing gates go down prior to the train entering the station, and don’t go up until it’s left or after the timeout period is over. Some times, I have seen the crossing arms go up while the train is still in the station, about to go east. Generally, when this happens, the train will accelerate very slowly to retrigger the gates, but there are times when the gates will go up for about half a minute, a few cars or pedestrians cross, and come down again rapidly while the train slowly accelerates away. In the westbound direction, it functions normally; however I have seen pedestrians become impatient and run across the tracks when they see the train in the station and not moving, even though the gates are down.

    https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Baldwin+Park+Metrolink+Station,+Baldwin+Park,+CA&hl=en&ll=34.087382,-117.956268&spn=0.00733,0.013937&sll=37.269174,-119.306607&sspn=14.408691,28.54248&oq=baldwin+park+metrolink&hnear=Baldwin+Park+Metrolink+Station&t=m&z=17 I was just there earlier today and didn’t see any flowers or other notations as to which sidewalk the cyclist died at. So this is speculation, but if it were the south sidewalk, it would be a good location for a dedicated pedestrian gate – not to mention the fact that there are Metrolink commuters who park or have destinations west of the station, although most of the parking is to the east.

  2. Dave H says:

    Of the 3 fatal crashes investigated in the UK (some have been clearly a cyclist’s failure to stop) since 2006, every one had clear evidence that the cyclist was using earphones. CCTV may also have corroborated this – but may be held back because of the closing images. The latest death had evidence of the cyclist riding out with hood up and earphones in oblivious to the approaching train.

    • bikinginla says:

      I didn’t want to speculate, but that would be my best guess here, as well, even though none of the news reports made any mention of headphones.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It’s a dangerous error to say that trains are “confined to…a predetermined schedule.”

    As anyone who’s ever been on a late train knows, the published schedules for passenger trains aren’t always followed, and freight and work trains aren’t scheduled at all.

    Trains can run on any track, at any time, in either direction.

  4. nelly says:

    Carlos my heart broke when i heard .you will be deeply missed my heartfelt sympathies to your family ….

  5. Maria says:

    I keep passing by there and i seen a few candels but no picture so where is this mans family and if he doesnt have one isdid metrolink or who ever is responsible for this give him a proper funeral?

  6. Niece says:

    Maria — Carlos has a family, and he did have a proper funeral. A big group of us saw the candles near the area he died. The candles were left by some of his friends. We went there the night of his funeral. We lit the candles and left pictures of him all around the pole where the candles were left. That was October 5th. I personally have not gone back since that night, so I do not know what has become of his pictures or the candles. I do not live in L.A. county, and I do not know if any other family has gone back.

    http://tributes.com/show/CARLOS-JACINTO-DE-SANTIAGO-SR-94530618

    • mad_queen03 says:

      Thank you Maria- Carlos has a big family who sorely misses him. I too went to the accident place the day of his funeral. I am ashamed to admit that i have not returned since that day. But his son visits the site often. I plan to visit on the anniversary of his passing. My brother lived a hard life. And to all of you who passed judgement on him, shame on YOU. For you did not know a thing about his life. Only God knows what hardships he endured and what his state of mind was. So ONLY God can pass judgment on Carlos.

      Rest in Peace Carlos, my Big Brother..

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