On October 13, 2006, at 9:20 a.m., a Union Pacific Railroad (UP) switching brakeman was struck and killed by three coupled railroad cars at the UP's Watsonville Junction Yard in Pajaro, California. The brakeman had been assigned to a two-person crew (one brakeman, one conductor) designated as LRQ42R-13, which was a regular weekday assignment. Their assignment was to switch railroad cars using a remote-controlled locomotive.
This crew was the only one working in the yard. The conductor was using an Operator Control Unit (OCU) to remotely control a locomotive that was used to switch railroad cars onto various yard tracks. The brakeman was to (1) ensure that the car couplings were successfully completed, (2) set the hand brakes, as needed, and (3) connect the air hoses.