Family of train crash victim files claim against agency

Adolfo Flores

In the aftermath of the Metrolink train accident, the family of Aida Magdaleno, the sophomore CSUN student who lost her life in the accident, filed a claim against Metrolink yesterday.

The family alleged that the accident could have been avoided had rail line opted to use the safety technology ‘Positive Train Control,’ which has been available for years.

The accident occurred this past Friday at about 4:23 p.m. when a Metrolink and a Union Pacific freight train collided head-on after engineer Robert Martin Sanchez failed to adhere to a red light. Twenty-five people lost their lives and 135 people were injured, with dozens critically injured.

It has been reported that Sanchez was text-messaging teenage train enthusiasts minutes before the accident.

‘We’re doing it in the name of my sister and everybody else who lost their lives on the train,’ the victim’s sister, Gabriela Magdaleno said. ‘Changes need to be made to the Metro system because more people are taking it due to gas prices.’

For Gabriela, two trains on the same track doesn’t make sense. She maintains that a system needs to be put in place as well as better communication among the rail service in order to avoid further accidents like the one involving Metrolink #111.

Gabriela described her sister as an activist who fought for the rights of not only herself, but those around her. Friends said Aida loved to read about the Chicano Movement and that Rudy Acuna, one of the founders of Chicano studies at CSUN, was one of her idols.

‘It’s something my little sister would’ve wanted to do,’ Gabriela said. ‘She was so innocent and had everything going for her.’

Paul Kiesel of Kiesel Boucher and Larson LLP, the law firm representing the Magdaleno family, agreed that the accident could’ve been prevented had Metrolink implemented the safety technology.

‘The technology exists and must be implemented throughout the Metrolink system,’ Kiesel said in a written statement.

‘This life-saving technology has been available for years, but Metrolink has refused to install it. This train crash was preventable and we must all work to prevent these tragedies from ever happening again.’