Rosemead men struck, killed by train

ROSEMEAD – Two 19-year-old Rosemead men who friends and family members described as inseparable friends died early Saturday after being struck by a freight train, authorities said.
Aaron Gallardo and Richard Haro were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Investigator Kim Arnold said.
Deputies at the sheriff’s Temple Station received a call from a Union Pacific dispatch center about 12:30 a.m. reporting that a train had collided with the pedestrians on the tracks between Rosemead Boulevard and Walnut Grove Avenue, just north of the 8800 block of grand Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Diane Hecht said.
“At this point, it appears to be accidental,” she said.
The investigation is ongoing, officials said, and coroner’s investigators will likely examine the bodies Sunday.
Lt. Kerry Carter of the sheriff’s Temple Station said the conductor applied the train’s brakes but was unable to stop in time.
Union Pacific spokesman Aaron Hunt said the engineer and conductor on the westbound freight train initially believed they struck one person, but responding sheriff’s officials discovered to bodies.
The train crew was unhurt in the crash and will meet with counselors to discuss the incident.
“This can be a pretty severe experience for our crew,” he said.
The railroad track was reopened about 7 a.m., he added.
Family members said Gallardo and Haro had been friends since they met at Rosemead High School. Both were life-long Rosemead residents.
“They were just inseparable,” said Gallardo’s father, Andrew Gallardo. “No matter what one did, the other did it, too.”
Aaron Gallardo loved lifting weights, punk rock music and drawing, his father said.
Under his well-built frame and 12-inch Mohawk hairstyle, Andrew Gallardo said his son had a peaceful and caring spirit.
“He was a loving kid,” the father said. “We’re going to miss him. It’s just a shock right now.”
Aaron Gallardo was planning on studying drafting at college, he added.
Haro was a former Explorer with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and was studying to be a chef at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Pasadena, his aunt, Irma Haro said. He often cooked meals he had just learned to make at school for his family.
“He was just a real fun-loving, good-natured kid,” she said. Richard Haro has recently taken time off school to help take care of his ailing grandfather, Irma Haro said.
Friends of Gallardo and Haro visited the crash scene Saturday afternoon to pay their respects.
Jeremiah Grizzelle of Rosemead said he was friends with both young men, but described Gallardo as his best friend.
Both young men often spent evenings at his house listening to music and playing video games, he said.
“They liked to have fun,” Grizzelle said.
“(Gallardo) was a good guy. He was hilarious,” the friend added. “(Haro) was fun to be around.”
Jeremiah Grizzelle’s brother, Joshua Grizzelle of Rosemead, said he would also miss Aaron Gallardo and Richard Haro.
“To know that I personally will not hear them laugh as they walk to my home once more brings me to tears,” he wrote in a letter. “In high school we were all in the the same niche, we shared the same moments, we’ve shared almost all our adolescent years together.”,
Jeremiah and Joshua Grizzelle’s mother, Darlene Grizzelle, said she remembered Gallardo and Haro visiting often with her son.
“They were two good kids,” she said. “I just can’t believe it.”
Gallardo was interesting and full of information, she said, adding that both young men were “adventurous.”
The portion of train track where the crash occurred is easily accessible by foot both from Muscatel and Grand avenues, and Darlene Grizzelle said many area residents walk on it daily.
Hunt said Union Pacific discourages trespassing on train tracks and works hard to, “make sure the public is very aware that railroad right of way is a very unsafe place to be.”

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