Spike in Caltrain deaths this year confusing

The number of deaths this year on the Caltrain tracks has officials scratching their heads about why the tally has already reached the total from 2007.

The most recent death in Palo Alto, the eighth this year, comes after experiencing a five-year low last year.

The fatalities this year have occurred in different cities, times of day and days of the week. Five have been suicides, with one accident and two undetermined deaths this year.

“We wish that we did” have theories onwhy the rate of deaths is up this year, Caltrain spokeswoman Christine Dunn said.

“We have never been able to identify a pattern and we don’t understand why it’s higher this year than it was in other years, and we also don’t understand when it’s lower, why it’s lower,” Dunn said.

On Monday, a northbound Caltrain was traveling at its normal rate of speed when its engineer “thought he felt something,” Dunn said. The engineer stopped the train, exited and looked around but could not find anything, so he continued operating the train’s route, she said.

After leaving the scene, the engineer called the agency’s transit police, who found the body of 26-year-old Ying Qin, of Newark, just south of the rarely used Stanford station, Dunn said.

Because there is no pattern in the deaths, Caltrain has not launched any new safety programs this year in light of the spike in deaths, she said. Instead, the agency has continued its safety presentations, fencing programs and other community outreach efforts established in previous years.

mrosenberg@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsLocalTransittransportation

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

U.S. Attorney David Anderson announces federal firearms charges against two men for their roles in a March 2019 shooting outside the Fillmore Heritage Center in a news conference alongside SFPD staff at the Phillip Burton Federal Building on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Departing U.S. attorney predicts corruption probe will continue

David Anderson shook up City Hall as top federal prosecutor

Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton, a former school board member, has been asked to help secure an agreement between the school district and teacher’s union. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
 <ins></ins>
Supervisor Walton tapped to mediate teacher contract talks

District and union at odds over hours in-person students should be in the classroom

California is set to receive supplies of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is still under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (Courtesy photo)
California could receive 380K doses of new J&J COVID vaccine next week

California could receive 380,300 doses of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine… Continue reading

Disability advocates protested outside the home of San Francisco Health Officer Tomas Aragon. (Courtesy Brooke Anderson)
Vaccine rollout plan for people with disabilities remains deeply flawed

On February 13, disability activists paid a visit to the house of… Continue reading

A Bay Area Concrete Recycling facility that opened on PG&E property in 2019. Former PG&E employees have been accused of accepting bribes from Bay Area Concrete. (Courtesy of Bay Area Concrete Recycling via ProPublica)
Lawsuit reveals new allegations against PG&E contractor accused of fraud

By Scott Morris Bay City News Foundation Utility giant Pacific Gas &… Continue reading

Most Read