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Memorial marks Metrolink crash anniversary

September 12, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Saturday marked the one-year anniversary of the deadly Metrolink crash in Chatsworth.A memorial plaque was unveiled at a memorial ceremony in honor of the victims of the crash. Councilman Greig Smith, whose 12th district includes the collision site, led the memorial at Stoney Point Park in Chatsworth.

"One year ago, our lives were changed forever," said Councilman Smith.

The plaque includes the names of all the victims and will be placed on a boulder overlooking the crash site.

Survivors and victim's families gathered with emergency responders, who themselves still struggle with the events of last September.

"I promise you that their lives that were lost were not in vain," Los Angeles City Fire Assistant Chief Mark Stormes told the crowd. "We will strive to do a better job next time."

Frank Kohler is a survivor. One year later he is still healing physically and mentally. He still cannot get on a train. "It scares me to even think about it," said Kohler. "I keep saying ' I want to do it, I want to do it' I want to sit in the seat where I was. I know where I was, I want to recreate it. Even when the train whistle blows getting very close to the station in Simi Valley I cringe."

"I don't think it will ever go away for any of the family members, or myself," said Manual Macias, whose nephew died in the accident. "It's awful to deal with"

Twenty-five people were killed and 135 were injured in the accident last year when the Metrolink train collided head-on with a Union Pacific freight train. The investigation revealed the Metrolink engineer ignored a red light signal, possibly while texting on his cell phone.

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