California Man Suspected of DUI in Car-Train Collision

By Topher

Here’s a sign you may be driving under the influence: You drive your car off a cliff, leave it on the train track, and watch it get hit by a train.

That’s what police suspect happened after a Union Pacific cargo-line train collided with a car outside of King City, Calif., early Monday morning, according to Central Coast newspaper The Californian.

The driver, 20-year-old Augustin Ramirez Lara of Greenfield, Calif., told police had been driving his Honda Accord at about 9 p.m. Sunday when it veered off and down a cliff, landing on the tracks.

The crash occurred about 7 hours later, at 3:55 a.m. Lara was not in his car, but he was in the vicinity, according to California Highway Patrol Officer B. Wright.

Lara was sitting on a hillside about 20 feet from the tracks when paramedics arrived, he said.

The car landed just outside of a tunnel on the tracks, leaving the train conductor little time to stop the locomotive, which was traveling at 40 mph at the time.

Wright said Lara was flown to a Bay Area hospital with a couple of broken bones. He did not know why Lara did not report the initial crash into the tracks.

Lara was cited on suspicion of DUI, and other charges might await him, Wright said.

Damage to the train was minor, and Union Pacific crews repaired about 100 feet of train track within an hour.

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