- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 13, 2008

UPDATED:

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Authorities have raised the official death toll in the Los Angeles commuter rail disaster to 23 but they’re certain the number will rise.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Saturday that in addition to the 23 some bodies remain in the wreckage of the Metrolink train but it is hard to determine how many.

The Metrolink train collided with a Union Pacific freight train Friday afternoon in the Chatsworth area of Los Angeles.

Metrolink spokeswoman Denise Tyrrell says a preliminary investigation has determined that the Metrolink engineer failed to stop at a red light, causing the collision. The engineer is believed to have died in the crash.

A spokeswoman for the Metrolink commuter rail service says the probable cause of the collision that killed at least 18 people was the failure of a Metrolink engineer to stop his train at a red signal.

Metrolink spokeswoman Denise Tyrrell said Saturday the engineer worked for a subcontractor that has been used by Metrolink since 1998.

She said she had no further details about the signal’s location and wouldn’t say if the engineer had survived Friday’s crash.

The commuter train collided head-on with a freight train in the Los Angeles suburb of Chatsworth.

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