Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies arrested a 31-year-old Newhall man on suspicion of DUI after a Metrolink train struck an unoccupied silver Lexus stuck on the tracks around 10:30 p.m. Monday in Newhall.
The train emergency was reported on the tracks near the intersection of Newhall and Railroad avenues, according to Los Angeles County Fire Department Supervisor Franklin Lopez.
Newhall resident Johani Bacilio and her family heard the commotion prior to the train’s arrival and, as the man tried to get his vehicle unstuck from the tracks, Bacilio called 911.
“The guy was asking us to help him get to get the car out,” she said. “They told him, ‘no.’ … He tried a couple times to get inside of the car and drive the car, but he couldn’t.”
Bacilio, who lives across the street, knew the Metrolink was due any minute and told the 911 operator to alert the train, while they also warned the man to get out of the car.
“We were scared. We didn’t know if was going to have time to stop,” she added. “I think they might have had plenty of time, (and) that’s why the Metrolink reduced its speed, otherwise the car would have blown.”
Bacilio said even after the train hit the vehicle, the man attempted to get the car unstuck and drive away.
Upon arrival, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies located a man who reportedly smelled strongly of alcohol, according to station spokeswoman Deputy Natalie Arriaga.
Deputies conducted standardized field sobriety tests and confirmed the man was under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, Arriaga said.
He was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, Arriaga added.
Original reports indicated the train was on fire, but arriving units reported there was no fire, Lopez added.
No patients were transported and no injuries were reported as a result of the incident.
The Metrolink AV Line 231 to Lancaster was back on the move by midnight and delayed 75 minutes due to the incident, according to Metrolink officials.