A man and a woman who may have fallen asleep on train tracks were struck and killed by a Metrolink train today in Orange County, and a girl was injured, according to Metrolink and Orange County sheriff’s officials.
Train number 603 was northbound from Oceanside when it hit the three at 6:06 a.m. at Alicia Parkway and Via Fabricante, sheriff’s Lt. Jim England said.
The man and woman were killed, while the girl suffered arm and leg injuries. She told authorities they did not hear the train.
ABC7 reported the train was in push mode, with the engine in the rear, which may have made it harder to hear the train approaching.
It was unclear how fast the train was going, but the speed limit in the area is 90 mph.
The girl called 911 at 6:14 a.m., said Metrolink spokeswoman Angie Starr.
She indicated to authorities that the three may have fallen asleep on the tracks, said sheriff’s spokesman Jim Amormino, although neighbors told the Orange County Register they heard laughing and screaming in the area before the crash.
It was also reported that the three may have recently met on Facebook and were staying with a friend in Mission Viejo.
Amormino said alcohol did not appear to be a factor in the accident.
None of the 67 passengers on the train were hurt.
The ages of the victims were not immediately clear, but authorities said the man and woman were young adults, possibly in their late teens or early 20s, Starr said.
The victims had to climb over a fence to get to the tracks, Starr said.
“The area is blocked by a gate and is not easily accessible,” Starr said. “It’s not pedestrian friendly.”
Pedestrians loitering around train tracks has become a system-wide problem recently, Starr said.
“We’ve seen an increase in trespassing over the past year,” Starr said. “It’s been unbelievable to us and we’re trying to educate the public how dangerous it is.”
The authorized track speed for trains is 90 mph, but investigators did not know how fast this train was going when it hit the victims, Starr said.
The accident caused problems for the morning commute for Metrolink and Amtrak passengers, and both agencies worked to bus passengers around the accident.
“We’re busing people around the Laguna Niguel station to the Irvine station,” Starr said.
When trains get to either station they drop off the commuters and turn back around, Starr said.