Paralegal A Hero In Worst Train Crash in 50 Years

You've probably already heard about the Metrolink train crash in Chatsworth (Los Angeles County), CA that occurred on Friday killing 25 people and injuring well over 135 others in the worst train crash in So. California in 50 years.

One of the injured victims was Jeremy Schneider, a 36-year old litigation paralegal who resides in Simi Valley.  Schneider was riding in the back car when he heard a loud crash and then silence. People were scattered about the car, including a woman in a wheelchair who fell on top of another passenger.

"There were bloody people everywhere," he said, adding that ever since the Glendale crash, he has been fearful of train travel and always sits in the back car, facing the rear of the train.

Schneider, who gave at least one TV news interview, appeared quite shaken and emotional as he told his story.  Immediately after the crash, he assisted his friend who had a large gash to her head.  As he helped move another, he found a dead passenger directly under the injured victim. Riders were pinned under one another as he warned them to escape from a fire that erupted after the crash.

Walking up to reporters, after his release from the hospital, Schneider said he had learned long ago to sit in the last car of a train for safety reasons. He came away Friday with minor back injuries. He said he thought his friend was going to be fine, too. "You look around and you can't believe what you see," Schneider said.

He had been on the second floor of the car when the crash occurred. When he walked downstairs, he saw a woman in a wheelchair flipped over. Under her was an injured man.

Then he looked up and saw fire. The front car was burning.Schneider said he called 911 and grabbed the fire extinguisher. He ran through the cars on the train, telling people to get out immediately.

"There were injured people and bloodied people all over," he said. "One guy was yelling, Please get me out of here. Please get me out of here.' "

For the first 20 minutes, there was only one paramedic on scene, Schneider said, and he was helping to pull people out of the back car.

Schneider commutes from Simi Valley to Union Station in Los Angeles for his job as a paralegal. He was enraged that a commuter train could hit a freight train.

"How do you hit a freight train head-on? That should be impossible," he said.

He couldn't believe the accident happened so soon after the Metrolink crash of 2005 in Glendale that killed 11 people. He told a gathering of reporters outside the hospital: "I want you to hit them hard."

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and family members of this tragic accident.