Son tried to save mother in train collision
December 29, 2008
DONNER SUMMIT “-The woman who died on Christmas day after being struck by a train on Donner Summit was confused by whiteout conditions and moved into the train instead of away from it, according to the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office.
A mother and son were struck by a train on Donner Summit, killing the mother.
Sydney Parks, 59, of Petaluma was pronounced dead at the Union Pacific Railroad tracks where she and her son were hiking near Soda Springs, the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office said.
Parks’ son, Alan Young, 22, of Davis, was injured when he tried to save her, according to a report from the Petaluma Argus-Courier. He was taken to Tahoe Forest Hospital in Truckee with serious injuries, the Sheriff’s Office added.
The pair had left the Royal Gorge cross-country ski resort in Soda Springs because it closed early for the day, the Argus-Courier reported.
Parks, a nurse practitioner at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in San Rafael, and Young decided to go for a walk, but didn’t realize they were walking on railroad tracks due to the snow accumulation, the weekly newspaper reported on its Web site.
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Witnesses and Young told deputies they were hiking along the railroad tracks, which they thought was a trail, at about 3:30 p.m. Thursday when a train plowing the tracks approached them.
The engineer tried an emergency stop and blew the whistle, but the mother and son apparently became confused in the whiteout conditions and moved into the train’s path instead of away from it, the Sheriff’s Office said. When she tried to move away, she fell, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Allen then jumped down to grab her, but the train still killed her, and he suffered a broken arm and a broken ankle,” said Roger Young, Allen Young’s father and Parks’ former husband, in an interview with the Argus-Courier.
Allen Parks underwent surgery for a broken arm, his father said. A hospital spokesman Friday would not reveal his condition.
“He was traumatized,” Roger Young, a retired contractor who lives in Mount Shasta, told the Argus-Courier. “It’s just typical of him to try to save is mother the way he did.”
The accident is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.