The wreckage from the crash between an Expo Line train and a car, which left one person in grave condition, has been cleared.
The collision occurred Saturday when the train this hit a car that turned in front of it at Exposition Park. In addition to the person who was reportedly near death, 20 other people were also injured.
That unidentified person was driving a Hyundai Sonata and had to be cut from the crumpled car, authorities said.
The train operator was hospitalized in serious condition, said Shawn Lenske of the Los Angeles City Fire Department.
He was later released and was recuperating at home, according to Metro spokesman Jose Ubaldo. He identified the operator as Kenneth Goss, a 29-year Metro veteran who is in his mid-50s.
Nineteen other people, all train passengers, suffered minor injuries in the 10:50 a.m. crash and eight of them were taken to hospitals, Lenske said.
The train hit the Hyundai at a traffic signal between USC and the Museum of Natural History.
Ubaldo told City News Service the car and the train both were heading east, when the car made a left turn toward the USC gate and was hit by the electric light rail vehicle.
Witnesses said after the Hyundai made an improper turn, it became wedged between a pole and the train, which derailed, according to the Sgt. Mike Verlich of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Left turns such as that are regulated by a left turn arrow, and there are flashing alarms for approaching trains, which get stop signals if cars are turning across the grade crossing.
After the wreck, a picture shot from a USC office building across the street, and posted on the Internet, showed a crushed car on the westbound tracks at the Watt Drive signal, and a stopped train on the tracks usually used by trains heading from Culver City to downtown Los Angeles.
The crash was next to the Exposition Park Rose Garden, about halfway between the tunnel under Figueroa Street, and Vermont Street.
Expo Line service in both directions was cut, and firefighters were warned a half hour after the crash that the train line’s overhead power supply could not be immediately cut off. The train’s electric arms had been retracted but firefighters were warned that low voltage batteries might still be a hazard, firefighters were told.
Buses were being used as a “bridge” to ferry passengers around the wreck.
Regular service on the Expo line wasn’t expected to be restored until about 4:30 a.m. Sunday, Ubaldo said.
Crews will have to de-energize both tracks to replaced a damaged traffic signal pole and officials wanted to wait until spectators, many of whom relied on mass transit, left a sold out Mexico-Ecuador soccer game that was played tonight at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Ubaldo said.
The game ended about 8:30 p.m.
Crews would be working through the night to complete repairs and reopen the line, Ubaldo said.