SANTA FE, N.M. — The Santa Fe police on Thursday released video from the Rail Runner Express train that struck and killed a bicyclist on April 19.
The video provides no new clues as to why cyclist Suzanne LeBeau rode in front of the train. She does not appear to be trying to “outrun” or get past the train and is instead coasting as she nears the Rail Runner tracks.
The video shows that, as the southbound train approaches the intersection of St. Francis Drive and Zia Road just before 11 a.m. on a Saturday, the helmeted LeBeau is crossing St. Francis in the crosswalk on the south side of the intersection, heading west.
LeBeau, 60, described by friends and family as an avid and experienced cyclist, gets across the traffic lanes and then coasts, without pedaling, at a fairly slow pace onto and along the sidewalk, and then into the path of the train, where tracks cross the sidewalk and the Rail Trail on the south side of Zia.
LeBeau turns her head briefly toward the train after it blasts it horn just before the accident.
Also, she may be trying to turn away from the train in the last split second. That’s not definitively shown, but a police report also released Thursday says she made “a hard left turn,” or away from the train, as she went in front of the Rail Runner.
In the video, taken from a high point on the train, she then disappears under the train and the impact is not shown. The train stops quickly after the accident.
As police have said previously, LeBeau may still be in the crosswalk across the southbound lanes of St. Francis as the traffic light for St. Francis turns green. It’s hard to tell what color the traffic lights are in the video, but southbound traffic is moving on St. Francis just after the collision.
Also confirming police accounts, the video shows that gates that block traffic on Zia from crossing the tracks are down and warning bells are sounding as the train approaches before the crash.
There are no gates across the sidewalk or the Rail Trail and the fatal accident has provoked debate about whether gates or other safety measures should be added where the Rail Runner crosses sidewalks or bike paths.
The police reports released Thursday say LeBeau was not wearing headphones and no headphones were found at the scene.
LeBeaus’s sister told police the day of the accident that LeBeau was in good health “and was a happy person,” the police reports say. The sister, echoing other comments from LeBeau’s acquaintances since the crash, told police that LeBeau “loved to ride her bicycle and was very careful when she was riding.”
The reports note that there is a railroad crossing sign and a “rumble strip” on the sidewalk and path ahead of where the tracks cross. The train was going 28 mph, the reports say.
Police spokeswoman Celina Westervelt said the case is closed and no charges will be filed. The police findings were that LeBeau failed to yield to the train, she said.