Railroad News

Amtrak Train Severely Injured Two Famed R&B Members at a Union Pacific Crossing as They Were Going To an Oakland Concert

By January 16, 2017 No Comments

(Oakland, California €“ January 12, 2017)

Two members of the renowned €œTower of Power€ Rhythm and Blues musical group were severely injured when they were struck by an Amtrak train at approximately 7:30 P.M., PST. Thursday night. The collision occurred at a Union Pacific railroad crossing on Clay Street, near Oakland, California€™s popular Jack London Square venue.  The band members were en route to the venue when the collision occurred.

Two members of the renowned €œTower of Power€ Rhythm and Blues musical group, crossing Union Pacific Railroad tracks at the Clay Street entrance to Oakland, CA€™s popular Jack London Square venue, were struck, injured, and transported to an area hospital as an Amtrak/CalTrans passenger train hit both men about 7:30 P.M., PST, Thursday night.

Calling €œTower of Power€ €œan R&B institution for nearly 50 years,€ Bay Area Fox News identified the two musicians as percussionist David Garibaldi, who has been with the group since 1970, and current bassist Marc van Wageningen, who was subbing for a regular member of the band. An Amtrak spokesperson complained that the victims €œwere not in the designated crosswalk when they were hit.€

The two musicians were transported to and admitted in serious but stable condition at Oakland€™s Highland Hospital for treatment of numerous injuries. Meanwhile, the scheduled 8:00 P.M. concert at Yoshi€™s was immediately cancelled after word of the accident reached the theater.

A hospital spokeswoman said that Garibaldi, 70, suffered head and facial injuries, while Van Wageningen, who was filling in for the band€™s regular bassist, Frank Rocco Prestia, suffered broken ribs, a concussion and internal injuries which required emergency surgery to properly treat.

Fox News added that €œIt wasn€™t clear why the men were on the tracks, but pedestrians often need to cross them in the area with trains running across and in between streets, including right outside Yoshi€™s€.

In fact, Embarcadero Street passes directly between Yoshi€™s and a parking deck, and Union Pacific€™s double track thoroughfare uses the street as a pathway, with trains passing within only a few feet of Yoshi€™s doors.

Eastbay Times Staff Writer Erin Baldassari talked with Union Pacific Spokesman Jeff DeGraff, who told her that initial indications are that the two men, along with other pedestrians, had waited for a northbound Union Pacific freight train to pass through the crossing. €œOnce (the train) was through, they started to walk across, even though the warning gates were still down and the lights were still activated. Unfortunately, just as the UP train passed headed north, an Amtrak train came through the area.€

Baldassari added that €œIn interviews and on social media, people familiar with the Amtrak crossing where the accident occurred said they feel the intersection poses safety concerns.€

According to Federal Railroad Administration files, the former Southern Pacific crossing accommodates a daily average of two dozen Union Pacific freight and Amtrak passenger trains at a top-allowable speed of 25 mph. The train that struck them was a CalTrans-funded €œCapital Corridor€ operation.

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