(Davis, California – November 3, 2013)
The tragic death of a well-known California community activist, killed by a train as she awaited the arrival of another Amtrak passenger train at the Davis, CA depot at about 7:07 P.M. last Sunday evening, was still under investigation by local police authorities. But many questions were left unanswered by Amtrak and Union Pacific officials as they gave various reasons for their lack of response to family and news media questions.
Andrea Mrotz, 29, a graduate of the University of California at Davis in microbiology, and a leader and organizer for Label GMOs: California Grassroots for the Vallejo and Benicia area, was crossing from one station platform to the other when she was struck and killed by an eastbound Capitol Corridor train with 314 passengers and crew on board. “She was standing next to her belongings when she got hit,” said Alberta Jones, the victim’s aunt. “Until we see the video, we won’t know how she ended up on the tracks.”
Jones added that her niece was familiar with the Davis Amtrak station and used the train regularly.
The video, meanwhile, filmed by a camera on board the nose of the locomotive, was being studied by Amtrak and Union Pacific, and was evidently not available to anyone beyond railroad officials, one of whom allegedly told Mrotz’s relatives that the train had extra passengers due to a Raiders NFL game played in Oakland. Thus, her family believes the train was longer than usual as well as there being a number of additional factors that may have contributed to the victim’s demise.
UP Spokesman Aaron Hunt, in an e-mail to news media, said that a full investigation would not be complete until a coroner’s report is received, and added that “we do not know if a cell phone or other electronic device was in use at the time of the incident.”
Rachel Pachivas, Bay Area Director for Label GMOs, which is an organization promoting the mandatory labeling of genetically engineered ingredients, said that Mrotz “loved life and had a passion to see others’ lives thrive.” Meanwhile, Pamm Larry, Northern California Director for and founder of the organization, called the victim “an amazing, energetic, creative organizer who was committed to food safety and sovereignty.”
Davis activist Barbara King, who had met Mrotz at a Davis Citizens Against Fluoridation meeting last September commented, “A bright light just went out.”