Coyote, CA Auto And Train Crash, Sep 1985


San Jose, Calif. (UPI) - An Amtrak passenger train going 70 miles an hour struck a car at a rural crossing, killing the car's occupants - a father and mother and their five children.
None of the 275 passengers or crew members aboard the northbound Coast Starlight were injured in the accident last night, said a spokesman for Southern Pacific, which operates the train for Amtrak.
"It was the most gruesome accident I've seen in 10 years as a firefighter," said Rudy Cabizas, who arrived on the scene minutes after the 6:35 p.m. accident.
The engineer threw the emergency brake on the train but it was too late to avert a collision, Southern Pacific spokesman Andrew Anderson said. The train carried the car seven-tenths of a mile down the tracks, firefighters said.
The vehicle was hit at a crossing in Coyote, a suburb about 12 miles south of San Jose, police spokesman Jack Morris said.
Amtrak spokeswoman Terry Santa Maria said in Washington, D.C., the train was traveling about 70 mph, 5 mph less than the authorized speed limit for that section of track. She said the accident occurred at a private crossing marked with a stop sign and railroad crossbucks but no flashing light.
San Jose Fire Capt. Art McFerson said the seven victims were "clearly killed instantly."
Morris identified the driver as FIDEL SOTO-FLORES, 42, of nearby Morgan Hill. His wife, ABIGAIL, and their three daughters and two sons, ranging from 2 to 14, also were killed, the Amtrak spokeswoman said.

Pittsburgh Press Pennsylvania 1985-09-09