SANTA FE (KRQE) –A woman is dead after she was hit by a Rail Runner train. The bicyclist was crossing in a crosswalk when the southbound train was leaving Santa Fe.
Police are still trying to piece together how this happened. Meanwhile, many on board that train say they’re just glad to be home safe.
Santa Fe Police say it happened at around 10:30 a.m. Saturday. The Rail Runner train had just left the Santa Fe Depot, headed toward Albuquerque, when it reached the Zia Road, St. Francis intersection. A 60-year-old, Santa Fe cyclist was crossing in the pedestrian crosswalk when the train approached.
“The crossing arms were down, the train was honking its horn several times. The conductor tried to stop the train and struck the pedestrian or bicyclist at the same time,” explains Santa Fe Police Lt. Andrew Padilla.
Police were on scene within minutes, trying to piece together what had happened and why the woman failed to stop for the oncoming train.
“They could have had headphones in, it’s still unknown at this point,” says Padilla.
Rail Runner Communications Manager Augusta Meyers says trains travel at close to 80 miles an hour and can take up to a half mile to stop but this Rail Runner was likely going only 30 miles an hour.
“We’re talking about tons of metal, literally, going at a speed of 30 miles per hour. It doesn’t seem very fast but actually, that is quite rapid,” says Meyers.
Police questioned the nearly 100 passengers on board, holding them on the train for close to an hour and a half. Hannah Lopez was one of them.
“They were announcing that we had an incident with a bicyclist and so, they told us that we had to be patient and wait for a while,” explains Lopez.
Once Police were done questioning passengers, they were loaded up into two Santa Fe Trail Buses and three minivans, stopping at each of the eight stations the Rail Runner would. It took people like Lopez about two and half hours to get to the Alvarado Station in downtown Albuquerque.
While they say it was an inconvenience, many can’t shake the horrible incident that put them in the situation to begin with.
“This is more tragic than anything else. What happened to us is obnoxious…All that’s really left to do is keep the family of the person who was hit in our thoughts,” says passenger Stav Gold.
Rail Runner officials say they do have plans in place to handle passengers in these situations. They have agreements with transit agencies, like Santa Fe Trail but, explain much of it is out of their control since it is a fatality investigation. They say there were two or three passengers headed south of Albuquerque who were personally driven to their final destination.
They say it’s standard procedure for the engineer to be offered time off and counseling.
Rail Runner officials add there are cameras on the trains and equipment much like black boxes on airplanes that police will review.