Another Palo Alto train death at West Meadow


An unidentified 19-year-old male died when he was hit by a train north of West Meadow Drive in Palo Alto shortly before midnight Friday. He is believed to be a 2008 graduate of Gunn High School who had been attending Brigham Young University.

Caltrain Public Information Officer Christine Dunn said Transit Police are investigating the 11:45 p.m. death as an apparent suicide, and relatives are still being notified. Dunn said she did not know any other details about the individual or the death, and that police have not confirmed even the city of residence.

The death occurred about 150 yards north of the crossing, Dunn reported. There was no indication of anything out of the ordinary this morning at the intersection, where a security guard was parked.

The death is the fifth since last May at the West Meadow intersection in what is termed a "cluster" of similar suicides. The deaths have prompted an intense response from Gunn High School, as three of the four young persons who died last year were students there. Students, parents and faculty have focused on trying to be available to students feeling depressed or suicidal.

Community volunteers have been stationed at the West Meadow crossing and have reportedly prevented one or two additional deaths, until now.

Reports from community members on Palo Alto Online's Town Square forum report that there were volunteer track monitors at the Charleston Ave. crossing and a paid security guard at West Meadow Ave. on duty at the time of the incident Friday night.

Dunn asked that anyone with any information about the incident or the individual call the Transit Police at 1-877-SAF-RAIL (1-877-723-7245).

Dunn said this is the first fatality this year on the Peninsula Caltrain tracks. Last year there were 19 fatalities.

-- Palo Alto Weekly staff

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