On 12 September 2008 at 4:22 p.m. in California's San Fernando Valley, a commuter train carrying 225 riders collided at a combined speed of 83 mph with a freight train run by a crew of three. In what came to be known as the Chatsworth crash, 135 people were injured (of which 87 were taken to hospitals, 46 in critical condition), and 25 died.
His fianceé heard about the crash from a news report on the radio as she was driving to the train station to pick up her intended. Peck's parents and siblings (who live in the
Peck's body was recovered from the wreckage
The barrage of calls prompted search crews to trace the whereabouts of the phone through its signal and to once again look through what was left of the first train, the location the calls were coming from. The calls searchers finally found Peck's body about an hour after the calls from his cell phone stopped.
Charles Peck had died on impact. Yet long past his death, his cell phone had continued to reach out to many of those he cared most about, and ultimately led rescuers to his mortal remains. (As far as investigators revealed, they never found Peck's cell phone.)
Ironically (and tragically), another cell phone may have played a pivotal role in causing the Chatsworth crash, the deadliest in Metrolink's history. Preliminary investigation revealed the engineer running the commuter train had failed to heed a red signal light, instead impelling his train onto a single track where a Union Pacific freight train coming the opposite direction had been given the right of way. According to teens cooperating with the investigation, they had been exchanging text messages with that engineer as the train left the station and received a final text message from him just before the collision
Barbara "for whom the ma bell tolls" Mikkelson
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