|NOTE: If Sheriff Lee Baca is so
"outraged", WHY does LASO refuse
to tell American citizens IF Juan Alvarez IS or IS NOT an ILLEGAL ALIEN?
Why not BOMBARD him with YOUR calls (323) 526-5000!
DEMAND an answer!
Deputy Killed In Metrolink Derailment
Jan. 26, 2005
GLENDALE — An "outraged" Sheriff Lee Baca said a 23-year veteran of his department was among the at least 11 people who died Wednesday as the result of train disaster along the Glendale-Los Angeles border.
Two other deputies were injured, Baca told reporters at the crash site.
Fire and police officials said the crash -- involving two Metrolink trains and a Union Pacific freight train locomotive -- was caused by a suicide-bent motorist who got his Jeep Cherokee stuck on a stretch of track, then changed his mind about taking his life and fled from the vehicle.
The driver -- later identified as 26-year-old Juan Manuel Alvarez of Compton -- was taken into custody and, according to Baca, faces potential homicide charges.
The sheriff's department identified the dead deputy as James Tutino, 47, of Simi Valley, who was assigned to Custody Administration Headquarters at the Men's Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles.
Tutino was married and had two adult sons and two adult step-children.
"I'm going to lay the blame for this entire incident on that car," Baca said, describing himself as "very outraged."
"I lost a good man in the sheriff's department. I have good reason to be outraged."
Baca said a southbound Metrolink train from Ventura County struck the SUV and caromed into a stationary Union Pacific locomotive. As it came apart, the southbound train then struck part of a northbound Metrolink train from Union Station, Baca said.
"When some individual parks his vehicle on the train tracks, knowing full well that a train is coming, this is cause for serious, serious alarm," Baca said.
"... You don't put your car on the track and put yourself in harm's and put all these passengers in harm's way. This is a complete outrage as far as passenger safety is concerned."
The criminal portion of the investigation into the crash is being spearheaded by the Glendale Police Department because the crossing where the Metrolink train crashed into the SUV is in Glendale.
Glendale police were being assisted by the sheriff's homicide bureau, Baca said. v The National Transportation Safety Board also will be investigating the disaster.