Railroad News

Young Widow Devastated In Loss of Husband, Daughter At Dangerous, Unmarked California Crossing

(Guadalupe, California — April 26, 2012)

Still in shock after a horrible railroad grade crossing accident which killed her husband and toddler daughter a week ago, the 18-year-old widow of Antonio Garcia Ortiz, 26, and mother of Azulmi Ortiz, 1 1/2, is "emotionally devastated in some way, a little bit in denial," says family attorney Jesus Arias of the unnamed survivor of the once-family of three. Ortiz and his wife, both farm workers and residing in Santa Maria, CA as they worked and saved to return to their home in Guerrero, Mexico so they could build a home there, were "a loving family," according to Arias. "They had this beautiful girl."
A Los Angeles, CA-bound Amtrak train with 132 passengers on board struck the car driven by Ortiz and carrying his daughter a week ago at a dangerous, unguarded farm road crossing of Union Pacific Railroad tracks near Guadalupe, CA, at 68 miles per hour, killing Ortiz and mortally injuring his daughter, who died later that day at a local hospital.
So emotionally moved were the passengers aboard the train that they took up a collection for the young widow, gathering more than $1,000 for her support. "When they (the Amtrak passengers) found out everything that happened, they became very concerned about the loss and the wife losing everything," attorney Arias said of the passengers’ actions.
"She’s not sure what’s going to happen to her life in the future," continued Arias in describing the current emotional state of Mrs. Ortiz.
Investigators are still piecing together the details of the tragedy, attempting to determine why Ortiz appeared to back his car across the crossing, marked with only passive signage and completely lacking any form of automatic (lights, bells or gates) protective devices which could have prevented the double fatality accident. KSBY-TV reported that law enforcement investigators still hope to "review video from a camera mounted on the train that captured the deadly crash," but when — or if — the critical piece of evidence is ever made available to those investigators is anybody’s guess.