Light rail, van collision sends 3 to hospital - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

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Light rail, van collision sends 3 to hospital

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Posted: Wednesday, December 2, 2009 5:45 pm

Three people, including a light-rail driver, were taken to area hospitals Wednesday after a collision involving a westbound light-rail train and a white passenger van at 18th and Washington streets in Phoenix.

A Phoenix police spokesman said the 28-year-old driver of the 2007 Chevrolet van, the 55-year-old male light-rail driver and a 38-year-old woman riding the light rail were taken to area hospitals with "very minor" injuries. The collision, which occurred at about 4:15 p.m., affected westbound service for about three hours.

Two of the injured were taken to St. Luke's Medical Center and a third to Good Samaritan.

Phoenix police Sgt. Tommy Thompson said preliminary investigation indicates the van driver failed to stop for a red light, although no one's been cited.

The van driver was alone inside the vehicle when the incident occurred. The collision caused the van to be wrapped up around a light pole.

Metro spokeswoman Hillary Foose said this is about the 50th such incident involving light rail.

"Most of these accidents are not to this degree, however," Foose said. "Mostly they're fender benders, and so far it's the drivers of the other vehicles involved who've been cited."

Thompson said none of the light-rail accidents in Phoenix were caused due to any light-rail issues.

"It boils down to inattention or failure to obey traffic-controlled devices by drivers of other vehicles," Thompson said.

Thompson urged people to pay attention around light rail.

"Don't be in such a hurry," he said. "The minute-and-a-half you may save could cost you your life."

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