Truck driver injured in trolley collision

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EL CAJON, Calif. -- A 52-year-old motorist was gravely injured Wednesday in a collision with a trolley at the western edge of Gillespie Field airport.

Don Godfrey of Lakeside was alone in his Ford F-150 pickup, heading east on Billy Mitchell Drive, when he pulled directly in front of the northbound light-rail tram at North Marshall Avenue in El Cajon about 12:40 p.m., according to police.

“Preliminary evidence and witness statements at the scene indicate the driver of the truck may have (bypassed) the railroad crossing arms and entered the path of the trolley,'' Lt. Randy Soulard said. “The trolley operator attempted to stop the trolley prior to impact, but was unsuccessful.''

Medics took Godfrey to Scripps Memorial Hospital in San Diego for treatment of severe, life-threatening trauma. No other injuries were reported.

It was unclear why Godfrey tried to cross the tracks in front of the trolley.

“It appears all of the traffic-control devices at the (rail) crossing were operating at the time of the collision,'' the lieutenant said.

The wreck left a stretch of rails blocked and trolley service suspended in the area until shortly before 2 p.m., said Rob Schupp, spokesman for Metropolitan Transit System.