The founder of a San Jose-based social media strategy company died early Tuesday morning when his Volkswagen was struck by a Caltrain traveling through Redwood City, according to the California Highway Patrol and the San Mateo County coroner's office.
Pierre-Alexandre Meloty-Kapella, 29, of Redwood City, was driving the Volkswagen on Buckingham Avenue at about 1:20 a.m. when it went through a fence and landed on the Caltrain tracks.
A maintenance train traveling north on a sidetrack that is used mainly by freight trains hit the Volkswagen and killed Meloty-Kapella.
His company website said his firm was a one-man show that he founded in the summer of 2016. He is a Palo Alto native.
Meloty-Kapella was also a legislative fellow in the U.S. House of Representatives for three months in 2009, according to his LinkedIn profile. He went to Williams College in Massachusetts.
Northbound and southbound tracks were blocked for about four hours, Caltrain officials said.
CHP Officer Art Montiel said officers are looking into whether drugs or alcohol played a part in the crash or whether Meloty-Kapella simply fell asleep at the wheel.
Montiel said there was no indication such as skid marks that Meloty-Kapella tried to stop before his vehicle went through the fence.
Caltrain officials said the train hit the Volkswagen and dragged it several feet just a few minutes after it landed on the tracks.
The death is the fifth on Caltrain tracks this year.