On Feb. 24 Glenn Steele, a veteran Amtrak engineer, was assigned to Metrolink Train 102 to supervise a new employee in training.
Early that morning, the train collided with a truck that was abandoned on the tracks at the Rice Avenue and Fifth Street crossing and Steele was fatally injured.
Press reports suggest it was Steele who stayed at the helm of the train until impact, refusing to save himself as he tried to avert a tragedy. Despite his brave efforts, 30 people were injured as three of the cars derailed and overturned.
Initially sent to Ventura County Medical Center, Steele’s heart stopped beating and after he was revived, he was transferred to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for specialized treatment. He passed away March 2.
We will never know what would have happened had Steele not stepped up to bring the train under as much control as possible before the collision. It is reasonable to conclude that without his efforts, some survivors might not have made it.
Steele was a resident of Riverside County, a longtime member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, and a grandfather. He was popular, well liked and his death came as a shock to many who thought that, after an initial improvement in his condition, he might recover.
Meanwhile, a National Transportation Safety Board investigation into the accident and the actions of the driver, Jose Alejandro Sanchez-Ramirez, of Yuma, Arizona is ongoing.
While we await the results of the investigation, we extend condolences to the Steele family and best wishes for a speedy recovery to the remaining crash victims.