Community - April 16, 2008

Service Tuesday for man killed by train

A service for Stephen Lehane, the Menlo Park resident killed by a train last week, is scheduled for 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 15, at the Menlo Park Presbyterian Church.

Mr. Lehane, 66, was struck by a train April 7, and his death has been ruled a suicide, said San Mateo County coroner Robert Foucrault.

Mr. Lehane "dedicated his life to making the world a better place for children," and worked for various childhood development nonprofits, according to a paid obituary that ran in the Sunday editions of the San Francisco Chronicle and San Jose Mercury News.

He is survived by his wife, Mary Puglisi; his three children, Christopher, Erik, and Erin Lehane; and five grandchildren. He previously served as director of the Avant! Foundation, according to the obituary.

Mr. Lehane reportedly stepped out of a grove of trees onto the train tracks between Encinal and Glenwood avenues in Menlo Park at about 8:38 a.m., said Lt. J. David Triolo of the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office's transit police bureau.

He was struck and killed by southbound Caltrain Baby Bullet train No. 322, said Caltrain spokeswoman Christine Dunn. There is no pedestrian crossing in the area, she said.

It was the fourth fatality on the Caltrain tracks this year, Ms. Dunn reported.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Stephen F. Lehane Memorial Fund, 3184 Washington St., San Francisco, CA, 94115.

The fund was created to honor Mr. Lehane's support of disadvantaged children, according to the obituary.


Posted by disgusted, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Apr 15, 2008 at 3:37 pm

If he truly wanted to make the "world a better place for children"...he would not have jumped in front of a train causing unbeleivable stress to those passengers on the train, not to mention the poor engineer of the train. What about his family he left behind? How selfish! No sympathy here. If you want to take your life, do it in a manner that does not hurt innocent bystanders. I live behind the tracks and saw the carnage.

Posted by Sad, a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 16, 2008 at 10:48 am

Disgusted, Has it occurred to you that someone who would jump in front of a train might be so enshrouded in a blanket of clinical depression or other form of mental illness that he is incapable of considering all those things you mention? I'm terribly sad for his family and those who had to witness his death and the aftermath. But to so harshly and absolutely judge a person for his last, desperate act without knowing what mental torment or illness prompted the act is cruel and arrogant in the extreme.

Posted by Pollyanna, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 16, 2008 at 12:47 pm

Imagine what a lovely community this would be if we all gave each other the benefit of the doubt every once in a while.

Posted by Several Sleepless Nights, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 16, 2008 at 4:04 pm

As the son of a suicide, I refrain from commenting about this. However, a train speeding at 79mph is a dangerous threat to safety. Airports are fenced to prevent intruders from entering. So are electric power sub-stations.

Unfortunately, to a determined intruder, no environment can be made completely zero-defect safety proof. However, the rail corridor can be optimized for safety with complete fencing, like any other dangerous environment. The only access to the rail right-of-way should be street intersections and station platforms. Additional four-quadrant gates would provide greater safety at street crossings. Still not perfect, but certainly far more discouraging to intruders, intentional or not.

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