Investigation continues into deadly light rail/SUV collision

SACRAMENTO, CA - An SUV carrying four people collided witha light rail train in south Sacramento Saturday afternoon.

PHOTOS: At the scene of the accident

The crash occurred around 4:15 pm on 26th Avenue near 25th Street, killingthree people and injuring several more.

The driver of the Nissan Pathfinder, Louis Leon Williams, 62, and passenger Shante Hope Williams, 25, both of Sacramento, werepronounced dead at the scene. Damian Antiwon Williams, a 21-month-old boy, also in the SUV,was transported to UC Davis Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead. Another female passenger in the SUV, who is the wife of one of the deceased, was transported to the hospital. On Sunday, she waslisted asstable.

Sixpassengers from the train weretaken to the hospital. They were all been listedin fair condition. The train was carrying about 50 passengers at the time.

Sacramento Fire Department Assistant Chief Niko King says that video footage from the front of the train showsthe crossing arms were working properly at the time of the collision.

Videoalso shows that a freight train had passed by shortly before the light rail train had come through. After the freight train had cleared, theSUV went around the crossing arms where it wasthen struck by the light rail train.

Regional Transit spokeswoman Alane Masui said, "An initial review of video at the Grade crossing indicates the SUV driver drove around the crossing arm. The video also shows that the crossing arm and signals were properly working at the time of the incident. We can not stress enough that motorists should never drive around crossing arms."

The car was pushed approximately 30 yards down the train track.

The lightrail train was on its way to the Fruitridge Station.

So many people stopped by the tracks Sunday to place candles and flowersthat RT officials andpolice came outto ensure their safety.

Family members of the victims also walked the tracks, searching for answers.

"I'm so lost for words because our family just lost three people. The youngest was 3. Shante was only 25. Pop was 62," said Otha Williams, one of the driver's sons.

Brothers Louis Williams Jr. and Otha Williams say there's a lot more to the story.

"Witnesses are telling us there werethree trains coming down this track. The question is, knowing my father, I believe the arm could have made a mistake and came up in between the two trains," said Louis Williams Jr. " "I believe there was something wrong technically with the way these things work and also the speed which these light rails are traveling through this corridor."

They have a hard time believingtheir father would have endangered his family -- going around the crossing guardrail if it wasn't safe.

"My dad was a 62-year-old man. That's a teenage move that happened. My dad was not a teenager. He didn't think like a teenager. I believe in my heart there was a malfunction. They were out here messing with this," said Louis Williams, Jr.

Police and RT are investigating the fatal collision.

The Sacramento Police Department urged anyone who witnessed the collision and left before the police had arrived the scene to please contact Detective B. Schrum at (916) 808-6032 or the dispatch center at (916) 264-5471.


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