“People Started Screaming”: Metrolink Passenger Recounts Crash, Happy to Be Alive

A passenger who was on board the commuter train that crashed into a truck in Oxnard Tuesday said he is just happy to be alive.

Richard Bradford could feel the Los Angeles-bound Metrolink train come off the tracks after striking the truck, which was sheared in half by the collision. And he could see the fiery wreck from out of his window as he sped past and his car began to overturn.

"I could hear the brakes go on... we felt a collision, even in the second car, the one I was on. It was a pretty rough collision... I could feel that the train had come off the tracks," Bradford said, "As we were going by I looked out the window and we could see the flames at the crossing which made me wonder about what the heck we just hit."

Bradford, who was ironically heading to his job as a rail worker in San Diego, was soon thinking about something else as his car began to roll over.

"It actually turned fairly slowly, the car I was on anyway. I was up against the wall so i didn't fall out my seat... I was just hoping it wasn't going to flip and that it was just going to go over on its side, Bradford said, "It overturned, the lights went out and that's when everybody really started, you could hear people start screaming when the lights went out."

Bradford said after the carriage came to a stop passengers checked on each other before heading for the emergency exits. And while there were some people who had to be helped by paramedics from his carriage, he said it was people on board the one in front that suffered the most.

"For a while everyone was quiet, then after 10 minutes when they gathered us everyone started talking. Everyone was just happy that they were unharmed. I'm just happy I'm alive."

As a seasoned rail worker, Bradford said he had no hesitation in getting back on the Metrolink to head to his work in San Diego, and was at the Metrolink Station in Oxnard Wednesday morning.

"I've been in accidents before so I don't have any apprehension about getting in another train, getting down there and getting to work. I'm just happy there were no fatalities."

His fellow traveller Raymond Sy was also heading to work Wednesday morning, 

"It was just so fast, we couldn't even react. Last thing I remember is an explosion. After that the train started wobbling and from there we just tried to hold on to the railings," Sy said.

After the crash he helped some fellow daily commuters get off of the car, even heading back inside to retrieve someone's cellphone. 

And he paid tribute to the emergency personnel who responded to the crash.

"Five minutes later the paramedics were up there. (They) did a good job."

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