Train accidents kill two in East Bay

Matthew Artz
Thursday October 17, 2002

A 32-year-old East Bay woman was killed in a possible suicide attempt when an Amtrak passenger train struck her Toyota pick-up truck at Camelia Street in Berkeley at 9:45 p.m. Tuesday. 

Donna Johnetta Bragg, 32, was thrown from the truck and pronounced dead at the scene, according to Berkeley police. 

“Pieces of the truck were scattered everywhere,” said Lt. Bud Stone who responded to the accident scene. 

Police were not classifying the death as a suicide, but there is evidence that the collision may have been premeditated. 

According to Police Information Officer Mary Kusmiss, information retrieved from the scene suggests that Bragg had just had an argument with her boyfriend, and that she had left his home in an angry state. 

Police believe that Bragg drove around the crossing gates and parked her car across the railroad tracks. 

Amtrak trains can travel as fast as 79 mph, said Union Pacific spokesperson Mike Furtney, who added that there was no way the train conductor could have stopped before hitting Bragg. 

Such collisions are not uncommon in California. Last year 73 state residents were killed when their cars were struck by oncoming trains, the highest total in the country.