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Elderly driver killed by train but boy survives

WINTON -- For reasons that may never be known, a 69-year-old Winton woman drove through a red traffic signal and downed crossing arms into the path of an Amtrak passenger train Saturday night. She was killed but a 5-year-old boy riding in the mangled car apparently escaped serious injury.

Edna Trinidade was pronounced dead at the scene of the 9:15 p.m. accident at the BNSF Railway crossing at Shaffer Road and Santa Fe Drive near Winton. Jacob Dutra, 5, of Winton was taken to Children's Hospital Central California in Madera for precautionary observation of minor injuries.

Officer Shane Ferriera, California Highway Patrol spokesman, said Trinidade went through a red traffic light at the intersection and hit the right side of the Amtrak locomotive and the first passenger car. The train was westbound at about 78 mph when the accident happened.

Ferriera said Trinidade's 1996 Toyota Corolla sedan was pushed into a guardrail and overturned on its left side. Dutra had been wearing a seat belt in the rear seat, stayed in the vehicle during the impact and was walking around the scene after the accident.

None of the 52 passengers aboard the Amtrak "San Joaquin" passenger train bound for Oakland were injured. The impact separated the locomotive from the first passenger car. Passengers were bused to their destinations and the intersection was shut down for several hours while the crossing arms were replaced and the accident investigated. The train proceeded to its destination at slow speed, Ferriera said.

Associate Editor Doane Yawger can be reached at 209-385-2485 or dyawger@mercedsun-star.com">dyawger@mercedsun-star.com.

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