West Berkeley Pedestrian Killed by Amtrak Train

By Richard Brenneman
Saturday June 06, 2009 - 08:04:00 AM

A pedestrian who apparently leapt in front of an Amtrak passenger train in West Berkeley Thursday morning was fatally injured, according to railroad spokesperson Vernae Graham. 

Graham said the accident occurred at 10:50 a.m., nearly four hours after Amtrak San Joaquin 711 had rolled out of Bakersfield on a run to Oakland. 

None of the 26 passengers or any of the crew members was injured, though passengers were delayed when the train ground to a halt after the incident, leaving the railroad to organize bus transit for passengers heading into Oakland and those headed to Bakersfield on the return run. 

Traffic came to a standstill on both active rail lines through the area as the Alameda County coroner conducted an investigation. Service on one line was restored about 1:20 p.m., and the second line was back in service by 3:30. 

Berkeley Police spokesperson Officer Andrew J. Frankel said the investigation was being handled by the Union Police Railroad Police, an independent force which exercises jurisdiction along the company’s rights-of-way. 

“Sometimes we handle the investigation because they have such a vast territory to cover,” Frankel said, “but they’re handling this one.” 

Graham declined to provide any information about the victim. “We never provide that information,” she said, referring a journalist to the coroner’s office. 

A spokesperson for the coroner said some information about the victim would be available later Thursday.