The engineer of
the Los Angeles-area commuter train that crashed into a
freight train Friday -- killing 25 people and injuring 135
others -- was a gay man with a bit of a troubled past.
Robert M. Sanchez, who had been working for Metrolink
since 2005, is believed to have failed to stop at a
signal near the San Fernando Valley district of Chatsworth,
causing his train to collide with a Union Pacific
freight train. The engineer was among those who died
in the crash.
reports that Sanchez moved to Southern California in
2000 with his life partner, Daniel Charles Burton.
Three years later, on February 14, Burton hanged himself in
the garage of the couple's home, leaving the
following note: "Rob, Happy Valentine's
Day. I love you. Please take care of yourself and Ignatia
[the couple's dog]. I love you both very much.
Daniel." A coroner later reported that Burton
was HIV-positive, and Sanchez said that just before the
suicide he and Burton had discussed breaking up.
suicide Sanchez ran into a little trouble with the law --
he served 90 days in jail in connection with an
attempted-shoplifting incident at Costco -- but primarily
lived a quiet life, raising and breeding Italian
about Daniel and said they had bought the house
together," fellow greyhound breeder and friend
Lilian Barber, 77, told the Times, adding that he
never told her that Burton had died. "He was so
alive and always up. I've never met anyone so up.
That's why it's so difficult to imagine that
Rob is dead." (The Advocate)