Devonshire Area: For the second time this month, Devonshire Area officers demonstrated heroism with incidents involving Amtrak trains. On August 2nd, Devonshire officers snatched a 10 year-old autistic child off the railroad tracks seconds before a train would have run her down.
On Wednesday, August 29, 2001, at approximately 12:35 P.M. Officer Tony Garcia and his probationary partner, Officer Tamara Myers responded to a radio call of a possible male transient in the Union Pacific railroad tunnels that begin in Chatsworth Park North and exit into Simi Valley. Arrangements had been made to stop train traffic through the tunnel while the officers searched for a possible victim. When the officers were approximately one-quarter mile into the second tunnel, they saw a light approaching them and the tracks began to vibrate.
Upon realizing that a train was approaching, both officers went to the side of the tunnel, one to the right, the other to the left, in an effort to avoid the train’s path. Officer Myers fell backward into an alcove in the tunnel, dropping her flashlight, rendering the tunnel completely dark. She called to Officer Garcia that she had located an alcove that could provide them safety. Officer Garcia began to walk towards Officer Myer’s direction when, in the dark, He tripped over a train rail, falling and severely breaking his nose and injuring his left wrist.
Officer Myers located her flashlight and immediately discovered that her partner had been injured. Officer Garcia managed to rise to his feet but was dazed from the fall and injury. Officer Myers left her place of safety and guided Officer Garcia to the alcove only seconds before the Amtrak train sped by.
An investigation is currently being conducted by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department to determine how the train was released to enter the tunnel during the officer’s search.
Officer Garcia was hospitalized and is scheduled for surgery. Officer Myers sustained minor injuries to her arms and remains on restricted duty. It is Officer Garcia’s belief that, only due to his partners rapid response, was he able to avoid a fatal accident with the oncoming Amtrak train.
For further information contact Captain Joseph Curreri, Commanding Officer of Devonshire Area Community Police Station, at 818-756-8281.
This press release was prepared by Public Information Officer Guillermo Campos, Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.