Apr 19, 2012 2:37 AM by Ariel Wesler

Train collides with car, killing Santa Maria man

A Santa Maria man is dead and his daughter is in the hospital after an Amtrak train crashed into their car.

It happened around 4:15 Wednesday afternoon on Highway 1 near Division Road, not far from Guadalupe.

Amtrak says it was Coast Starlight train heading from Seattle to Los Angeles. Investigators are trying to figure out what the car was doing there.

We don't know her condition but family members say she is around one-year-old. She was taken to Marian Medical Center. Relatives say the man in the car was her father, Antonia Garcia, 25, from Santa Maria, who worked in the broccoli fields with his wife.

Family members say Antonio Garcia had left work early to take his one year old daughter to a doctor's appointment.

"He came to pick up his wife and unfortunately this happened," said Miguel Moreno, a relative.

An Amtrak train carrying 132 passengers collided with the vehicle, killing Garcia and sending his daughter to the hospital.

"The vehicle possibly backed into the oncoming train," said Sgt. Anthony Perry with the Santa Luis Obispo Sheriff's Office.

"It's very difficult right now. His family is suffering," Moreno said.

Although he never met him, Moreno says Garcia emigrated from Mexico.

"He came here looking for a better life, and it just ended," he said.

Officials say signs permitted the car to cross where it did.

"If it's not a highway, then they're not required to have barricades for trains," Perry said.

But his family feels more needs to be done to prevent another deadly incident.

"Hopefully this doesn't happen to another person here," Moreno said. They should put more signs here to prevent people from crossing when the train's crossing."

No one onboard the train was injured, but passengers were left sitting on the tracks for four hours while the investigation unfolded all around them.

The train started up again just before 8:30 Wednesday night.

Stay with KSBY News and KSBY.com for more on this developing story.

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