Smashed Window Injures Metrolink Engineer, Halts Train

Passengers were stalled for 90 minutes after a rock smashed the train windshield.

A Metrolink engineer stopped his northbound train near in Mission Viejo on Tuesday around 2:20 p.m. after someone threw a rock and sent broken glass flying, officials said.

The engineer, who had glass in his face and eyes, was taken to a medical facility in Laguna Niguel but the injuries were not believed to be life threatening, said Metrolink spokesman Scott Johnson.

The train stopped at mile marker 190, Johnson said, which is near the park and about 1,000 yards north of Chrisanta.

Meanwhile, Mission Viejo deputies arrested a teen who was allegedly drunk and throwing eggs and rocks near the train tracks on the 24700 block of Chrisanta, Sgt. William McGovern said.

Police were told three or four male teens "walking along the tracks are throwing rocks" at 2:11 p.m., less than 10 minutes before the train was stopped. McGovern said no link has been established between the two incidents.

Johnson would not say if the two incidents are connected.

Per federal regulations, trains can't be operated with broken windshields, Johnson said. Seven passengers on the Riverside-bound train had to wait 90 minutes until train 812 arrived, Johnson said.

With train 802 out of service, buses were dispatched to Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo to pick up passengers who were due to travel to Riverside later in the day. Bus service was also provided for passengers going from Riverside to stops in Orange County.

ms.sc. July 25, 2012 at 01:41 AM
The culprit should be held accountable for his/her or their actions to send a message that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated! A stupid act like this could have been even deadly! At the very least the engineer could have lost his eyesight! And for what?! Maybe that is the start of a mental problem this teenager is showing. It is definitely aggression.
Kyle Banashek July 25, 2012 at 01:47 PM
I really hope they make an example of this kid...that's just outright stupidity!
Troy July 25, 2012 at 04:20 PM
At least the engineer is okay. It screwed up my ride home since the 804 was also cancelled. I just made the best of it, hopped on the LA train, got off at Orange, and had an early dinner at Ruby's. It still beat driving the 91, and I (barely) made my 7:00 doctor appointment in Temecula. You would think with the size and cost of these trains, they'd have safer windshields. If a rock were to hit the windshield of my car, it would break, but I wouldn't have glass in my eyes. How much more could it add to the cost and weight of the engine to use safety glass? Better yet, why not use something that can't be broken by a rock? It's kind of scary thinking that something that size can be stopped by a little rock.
Cindee Rae July 25, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Nail the little teenage punk with nothing better to do than get drunk in the afternoon! Give him something better to do like clean up along the railroad tracks everyday for 8 hours a day for 6 months! bet he won't go near a railroad track after that!!
ms.sc. July 25, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Good point Troy, I too thought it was strange a little rock could do such damage to a trains windows...
Clint Worthington July 25, 2012 at 09:31 PM
This person can be charged under the Patriot Act for acts upon the railroad. The sentencing under the Patriot Act is a minimum of 25 years. The glass in a locomotive windshield and side windows must meet FRA standards. Typically, it is not supposed to break. However, any object thrown and hitting the window at just the right angle unfortunately, will break the window. What you have to remember is that some sections through this area the maximum authorized speed is 90 mph if I remember correctly. If the rock was thrown towards the window at last say, 50 mph that would make the impact at 140mph. Not too many windshields will survive that kind of impact upon it. I am thankful that the crew and passengers are ok and not further injured. There used to be a time, that I had the window open in the locomotive. But, as this demonstrates, it is just not worth it any longer.
Clint Worthington July 25, 2012 at 09:33 PM
Peter, by the way, those are FRA regulations regarding the windshield, not the state.
Peter Schelden (Editor) July 26, 2012 at 01:19 AM
Thank you for that, Clint. I'll correct it.
John July 26, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Troy, so sorry to hear you live in Temecuyuk. As far as a rock breaking a train window...that engineer is probably looking for some workmans comp or a fat lawsuit...what's a little glass? come'on?
John July 26, 2012 at 11:40 PM
Jeez Cindee...would not want to be one of your kids. "Jimmy! Put that cookie back or we'll have you caned..again!" 25yrs for the second offense. Just a bit agro! ps. I enjoy a nice cocktail or two in the afternoon...maybe you would too. thanks


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