Train kills "desperate" homeless mother & her 4 children in CT,

Tom Boland (
Sat, 29 May 1999 11:59:42 -0700 (PDT)

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Angel, the homeless child who survived the train accident reported below,
has since died.
FWD  New York Post - May 26, 1999


     By Ikimulisa Sockwell and Carl Campanile

A 6-year-old "Angel" clung to life in a Connecticut hospital last night -
the miracle survivor of a tragic train accident that killed his mother and
three brothers.

Angel Toledo was in a coma last night and listed in "very critical
condition" at Bridgeport Hospital after losing a leg and suffering skull
and hip fractures, hospital spokeswoman Audrey Wise said.

"The real determination of his survival is going to be his brain injury,"
trauma surgeon Dr. Nabil Atweh said.

The train mowed down and killed Angel's mother and three brothers - Julia
Urgiles Toledo, 48; Carlos, 12; Jose, 8, and 3-year-old Pedro - while they
walked along a Fairfield railroad bridge at 2:20 a.m. yesterday.

It was unclear why they were on the tracks, but one official suspected
homelessness may have driven them there.

Fairfield chief official Ken Flatto said the family was in "desperate
straits" - and may have been homeless.

"For children and an adult to be walking on train tracks at 2 in the
morning, obviously, they were scared and had nowhere to go," he said.

The train operator told police he first spotted a child walking on the
right side of the tracks as the No. 67 train carrying 210 passengers headed
to Penn Station - and he sounded the horn and pulled the emergency break.

He then saw a woman and two children on the left side of the tracks - and
blared the horn again.

Seconds later, Toledo, with two of her boys in tow, frantically tried to
cross the tracks in an attempt to get her other son.

"Her last act was an attempt to save her other child," said MTA police
chief James O'Donnell said.

"They didn't have time to get out of the way of the train. The train struck
the entire group," he added.

The train operator never saw the fourth child.

Railroad cops and Connecticut transportation officials said the
20-year-veteran train operator did everything he could to stop the train -
and was not at fault. He was treated at the hospital for trauma.

Amtrak spokesman Rick Remington said the train was traveling 71 mph in a
75-mph zone. It would have taken more than a mile to stop, officials said.

Residents of the Toledos' old neighborhood in Bridgeport - which they moved
out of a few weeks ago - were shocked at the news.

"[Julia] always seemed pleasant. She always took the kids with her, walking
them back and forth to school," a stunned Rebia Ebron said of Toledo, who
worked for a cleaning service at Fairfield University.

"It's so sad," she said. "Oh, God."

Muriel Young agreed. "They were beautiful children. They're a nice family.
They go to church every Sunday," she said.

Luis Vazquez, a 17-year-old neighbor, said the kids were well-behaved. "If
there were any problems," he said, "they didn't show it [at] all. They
seemed always happy."


**In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is
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