San Jose man hit, killed by light rail train

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU and BCN) - A light-rail train struck and killed a pedestrian in San Jose Friday evening, halting service on the Ohlone/Chynoweth-Almaden line, according to the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.

Santa Clara County Sheriff's investigators were seeking witnesses, as they try to determine if the death was an accident or suicide.

The man, approximately 25 to 30 years old, was hit by a northbound train traveling about 35 miles per hour. It was entering a gated crossing at the time, and VTA believes its crossing arms, flashing lights, and warning bells were all in operation.

"It appears our system was a go, " spokeswoman Brandi Childress told KTVU, "but we are pulling the video from the train and that will help in our investigation."

The incident closed Blossom Hill Road between Winfield Boulevard and Almaden Expressway. It happened at 6:46 p.m. and by 10 p.m., crime scene investigators had arrived to take photos and measurements, as the man's body lay under the train, shielded from view by a tarp.

Childress said the train was in service but had no passengers on board at the time of the incident.

The operator, who she described as a veteran employee, was being debriefed and drug-tested, as is the protocol.

The spur line only has one track so train service through the area was halted and replaced by bus bridge to get people from Oakridge Mall to Almaden Valley.

The last time someone was struck and killed by a VTA train was just over a year ago near Del Mar High School. Investigation determined the victim, a teenage girl, was distracted at a crossing gate, and failed to see the train.

"This happens maybe once a year", said Childress, of train-pedestrian deaths, "it really is very rare."

Light rail service was also disrupted earlier in the evening to the Tasman and River Oaks stations due to police activity, but that incident has since cleared and service on that line restored.