CHP investigators are meeting with Amtrak officials to review a recording that could help reveal what occurred in the moments just before a train hit a car and killed a father and his infant daughter.
The meeting between investigators and Amtrak officials is set to take place today or next week, according to CHP Officer J.W. Townsen.
He said the meeting may include a review of audio or video of the crash that occurred just north of Guadalupe on April 18.
“They (Amtrak) are cooperating with us. However, they are not releasing anything to us,” Townsen said. “They want to go over everything together.”
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Investigators are poring over the evidence pertaining to the collision. The mangled remnants of the car have been impounded as evidence, and investigators are checking to see whether mechanical failure could be to blame for the vehicle not moving off the tracks.
Investigators are also interviewing friends and family to see whether the incident could have been intentional.
Townsen said it could just be a horrible accident. He said the driver could have seen the train bearing down on him and panicked.
“Unfortunately, there’s a chance we may never know what really happened,” Townsen said.
The train is believed to have been traveling 68 mph when the engineer saw the white sedan on the tracks.
The engineer told investigators he saw the car from a distance and began sounding the horn and applying the brakes, but the driver didn’t move out of the way. Instead, according to the engineer, the driver backed onto the tracks and stopped directly in the train’s path.
The southbound train struck the white sedan near a vegetable field, just north of Guadalupe at Division Street and Guadalupe Road at 4:19 p.m.
The force of the impact instantly killed 25-year-old Antonio Garcia Ortiz of Santa Maria. His 1-year-old daughter, Azulmi Garcia Montealegre, was taken to Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria, where she died.