UPDATED: Woman struck, killed by Metrolink train in Palmdale

The fatal incident occurred just after 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Palmdale Boulevard crossing, west of Sierra Highway, authorities said. (Photo by JOHN MEZA)

The fatal incident occurred just after 7 p.m. Tuesday near the Palmdale Boulevard crossing, west of Sierra Highway, authorities said. (Photo by JOHN MEZA)

PALMDALE – A woman pushing a cart full of clothes across the railroad track was struck and killed by a Metrolink train in Palmdale Tuesday evening, authorities said.

The Metrolink train was carrying around 80 passengers. (JOHN MEZA)

The Metrolink train was carrying around 80 passengers. (JOHN MEZA)

Around 7:05 p.m., deputies responded to the Metrolink tracks at Palmdale Boulevard, according to Lt. K. Wright of the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station. An unidentified woman, possibly in her 40’s, was found dead on the west side of the tracks, about 150 feet north of Palmdale Boulevard, Wright stated.

A witness told deputies the victim was pushing a shopping cart full of folded laundry on the north sidewalk, and the victim pushed the cart onto the tracks while the crossing arms were down, Wright stated.

The victim was pushing a cart full clothes across the tracks  when she was struck. (JOHN MEZA)

The victim was pushing a cart full clothes across the tracks when she was struck. (JOHN MEZA)

The wheels of the cart apparently got stuck on the west track, and the victim struggled to free the cart as the northbound train approached, according to Wright.

“Just before the train reached her, the victim seemed to become paralyzed and simply stood in place, staring at the train until it hit her,” Wright stated.

The train continued for another 500 yards before it was able to stop. About 80 passengers were on the train, and they were released at the Clock Tower Plaza stop, Wright stated.

Around 8:45 p.m., the tracks were re-opened to Metrolink trains at restricted speeds, sheriff’s officials said.

UPDATED 2/6/14: The victim has been identified as 53-year-old Geraldine Anne Denning, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office. Denning was homeless, coroner’s officials said.

UPDATED 2/21/14 by Daché Jackson: Geraldine Nan Denning was a 52-year-old woman with eight grand kids, according to her family. Tammie Powell, Denning’s sister, said, “She was trying to get her cart off of the tracks, she didn’t want the train to get into an accident [and risk hurting the passengers] over a cart.” Denning decided to move to Palmdale to be closer to her daughter, and lived in Palmdale on and off for the past 10 years, Powell said.

  28 comments for “UPDATED: Woman struck, killed by Metrolink train in Palmdale

  1. soapbox superman
    February 23, 2014 at 11:10 am

    I wonder where she got the shopping cart from…I see them everywhere…

  2. meriah denning her daughter
    February 22, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    I honestly wasnt going to comment on here because I would prefer not to be in the media light but id like to set the reccord straight, for one my mother was not a homeless!! she had a place to live and thats where she was headed. She came to be near me and my three children…I will never understand what happened on those tracks that night but what I am well asure is she was not crazy nor was she taking her own life nobody can feel what she was going thru or why she got “paralayzed”.my mother is dead and although its affecting other ppl me and my family are mourning the loss of my mother so all those who have nothing nice to say or really dont know what took place that night should just be quiet! She is dead for christ sake let her rest in peace shes gone and im never getting my only mother back!!thank you to those who actually care and have expressed there condolances this has been very tough on our family and very hard to deal with.I will always love and miss u mom!!!

    • LanceThruster
      February 27, 2014 at 2:17 pm

      So sorry for the loss to you and your family. Ignore those being senselessly cruel. The people on the train felt quite bad for your mother. We see the marker placed on the site every day we pass. I agree with you that she probably froze. She was probably quite tired that night and it was chilly and breezy. She most likely just wanted to get home where is was warm and instead made a tragic mistake that any of us could make. It sounds like you have a wonderfully close and supportive family. Again, sincere condolences to you all.

  3. AdolphOliverMuff
    February 7, 2014 at 10:55 am

    I was attempting to photograph an Amtrak Train years ago up in Oxnard. I got very close to the tracks and you should know that there is a sort of “suction” from the train as it passes. I attribute this to the sheer mass of the train. It’s as if it creates its own small field of gravity. Scared the living daylights out of me.

  4. soapbox journal
    February 7, 2014 at 5:00 am

    This intersection and all of the train crossings in this valley need to be redone so that there is better safety for pedestrians and better traffic flow, I always wonder when I drive those streets and when I use to walk or use my scooter to cross, why were there not over passes place there instead of flat crossings, it would be safer and more productive to have someway of separating the trains from the people, like the over pass on Sierra close to ave S, cars go under the trains. Just my thoughts, I am very sad that people die here when it is so preventable. RIP

  5. Mayra Montoya
    February 6, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    I met this woman at the laundry mat that night and was the last person to talk to her….please if anyone knows her name or her family please I would like to know.

    • Her sister
      February 7, 2014 at 12:41 am

      Thank you so much for your prayers an condolences it would be nice to hear from you. As yes we are all in a quite a bit of shock over this. My phone number [removed]. She wasn’t homeless she was staying down the street from her bueatiful daughters an her grandchildren. I assume just doing laundry. Would love to know what little information you can give.

      • KB
        February 7, 2014 at 1:55 pm

        I know Geraldine’s daughter. She’s a friend of mine. She’s a sweet girl whose been through so much in her life. She doesn’t deserve this. She doesn’t deserve to lose her mother this way. She’s been through so much already, poor thing. I also met Geraldine. She was a nice lady. There was a mutual respect between us. RIP Miss Denning. And to the family, I’m so for your loss.

    • Evelyn Lansing
      February 7, 2014 at 3:46 pm

      I know her daughter and her boyfriend and as well as her children (Geraldine’s grandchildren) I’m related to her boyfriend.

    • meriah denning her daughter
      February 22, 2014 at 8:24 pm

      That was my mom if you would like to share anything
      Id like to hear what her last conversation was about I miss my mom like crazy

      • LanceThruster
        February 27, 2014 at 2:10 pm


  6. Raul
    February 6, 2014 at 10:12 am

    My brother was killed at this same location October 19th 2013 so for the family my condolences go out to you all.. I know exactly the pain you guys are going through because I was there not to long ago. I’m sorry that this happened trust me I know EXACTLY what you’re going through.

    • LanceThruster
      February 6, 2014 at 12:56 pm

      I heard about that. So sorry for your loss. Sincere condolences to your family and loved ones.

      • Nancy P
        February 6, 2014 at 6:03 pm

        great screen name!

        • AdolphOliverMuff
          February 7, 2014 at 10:51 am

          You too Nancy !

    • Tammie
      February 12, 2014 at 2:31 am

      Wow such a shame an shock. I feel they should make the trains more safer. As this is quite common I am hearing.Ive been a commuter for many years never thought anyone would become a victim. A lot of prayers. Im sorry bout your bother.

  7. LanceThruster
    February 5, 2014 at 10:59 am

    I was on that train. I thought a length of chain had broken off from the undercarriage. Sad to think that that was the sound of the last moments of her life.

    Metrolink does a good job trying to promote rail safety. People should remember to observe warning signals and more importantly, *never* put yourself at risk for the sake of mere stuff.

    My condolences to her family, friends, and loved one as well as the Metrolink and Sheriffs Department personnel who had to deal with the aftermath. The SD officers taking the incident report were very professional. My fellow passengers were also very commendable in their patience.

    • sister
      February 7, 2014 at 12:58 am

      Thank you I am her sister it was quite a shock. Yes some of us will never know what was going thru her head that night am just trusting that she is home now in Gods loving arms.
      Thank you for your prayers. She had two bueatiful daughters an 8 grandchildren that’s why she was in palmdale to be close to her children. Whom she loved dearly. To get hit by a train that’s a lot to take in. There has been accidents that I have heard of tho at that intersection. Well never know why just hoping to bring peace an comfort to her children. Thank you all for caring. I don’t think it was the cloths that she was worried about but more the train hitting the cart an causing an accident.

      • LanceThruster
        February 7, 2014 at 4:35 pm

        It is very sweet that you came here to comment and share information on your sister and the people who loved her. Often people forget just how many others are affected by a tragedy such as this. I am truly sorry for all the pain you and the rest of her family are going through. Sincere condolences. I’ve only lived in this area for a couple of years but I really love it here.

  8. theyarehere
    February 5, 2014 at 10:45 am

    odd, that this cart full of folded clothes was worth her life. People freeze from fear, but it’s very disturbing that she just stared her death in the face, without moving. Something tells me evil forces are at work here, or are lurking around that intersection. Something may be controlling these people to go onto the tracks….who knows…

  9. Steve Hofbauer
    February 5, 2014 at 9:40 am

    I was notified moments after this occurred by passengers on the train. As an AVTA Director, I was able to contact our bus company staff to get a head start and get busses rolling to provide a bus bridge to the station if required.

    • Letlow
      February 5, 2014 at 9:45 am

      What a horrific way to die! Why continue to fight for a basket of clothes when a train is coming?? Maybe she underestimated the distance of the train? SMH…

    • Etiquette
      February 5, 2014 at 2:52 pm

      While your action was good and appropriate, your mentioning it here seems tacky.

      • sikntired
        February 5, 2014 at 4:32 pm

        Agreed, self aggrandizing at the least.
        Poor woman may have had mental issues, maybe everything she owned was in that cart.Very sad.

      • Laura
        February 6, 2014 at 1:21 am

        That’s a little harsh, don’t you think? Would you honestly say that to a person’s face, or are you only rude when you can hide behind a computer?

        Steve, nice job in keeping a cool head and taking immediate action to make an already horrible situation as tolerable as possible for your passengers. I’m sure it was greatly appreciated.

        • Etiquette
          February 6, 2014 at 9:58 am

          Yes I would mention to a person face to face if I felt they were being tacky. Doing one’s job properly and taking charge in a situation is to be commended. Mentioning you did your job correctly on an article that seems to center more on the victim seems tacky.

        • the truth
          February 6, 2014 at 11:18 am

          I was sitting at the intersection when this happened…… I think the flashing lights and the big TRAIN CROSSING arms come down is a clear indicator that it is not safe to cross!!! it is the LAW not to cross, that goes for any vehicle, bicycle rider and pedestrian!…. . Point blank!…. the law was made not to be mean, but rather to keep people safe. I am pretty sure, this is a law and safety precaution in any country of the world where there are trains. maybe the way she was just standing there as I was screaming at her to move out of the way when she was frozen and staring the at the train head on,…. almost look like she wanted to be hit by the train, maybe she was tired of living.. quit blaming this on mental illness, some people are either just stupid, careless, or they give up on life…. there are many many homeless people in Lancaster and Palmdale, who also have mental illnesses, but they don’t throw themselves in front of trains or cross when they are not supposed to.

          • sikntired
            February 6, 2014 at 8:19 pm

            When people are actively hallucinating because they are off their meds they can do anything and have no idea what they are” supposed” to be doing.She had taken a Laundromat cart and was pushing it on the sidewalk,doubt she was in touch with reality,unfortunately this is the face of mental illness and a problem not going away any time soon.

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