A woman in her 30s died Monday night from injuries sustained when her silver Acura SUV was struck by a southbound train at around 4:45 p.m. at the Ravenwood Avenue crossing in Menlo Park.
The woman, the lone occupant of the vehicle, was driving west and became stuck on the tracks at the Ravenswood crossing when the car was hit, said Harold Schapelhouman, chief of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District.
She was apparently boxed in by traffic as the gates came down. The SUV flew 40 feet from the impact with the baby bullet train, which was traveling at 79 mph, Caltrain officials said.
Witnesses to the accident administered CPR until medics arrived and took her to Stanford Hospital, said Caltrain spokesperson Mark Simon. She was pronounced dead a short time later.
A child safety seat was found in the car but was unoccupied, Chief Schapelhouman said.
All trains were stopped in both directions until about 5:30 p.m. when a single track was opened through the area, Caltrain officials said. Around 6 p.m., the northbound tracks reopened for all trains.
The crossing gate mechanism was destroyed and the train sustained "substantial damage," said Caltrain spokesperson Jayme Ackemann. The train may need repair work before it can be moved out of the crossing, she said.
The tragedy prompted Caltrain to remind motorists to never stop on the tracks. "Under any circumstances, do not stop on the tracks," Mr. Simon said. "Don't start across the tracks until you can get all the way across."
Menlo Park police issued an advisory at 4:49 p.m. Tuesday that Ravenswood Avenue at El Camino Real and the train tracks was reopened after being closed since the accident.
Bay City News Service contributed to this report.