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'Young Man' Struck By Train Dies; Service Returns to Normal

UPDATE (4:49 p.m.): The person fatally struck by a Metro train this afternoon was a male minor, Metro said in a news release. Officials are not releasing his name or age at this time, but the agency describes him as a "young man."

"The preliminary indication leads investigators to believe that the young man intentionally placed himself in the path of the train," according to Metro's announcement.

UPDATE (4:35 p.m.): Metro trains on the Yellow and Green lines stopped single tracking at about 4:15 pm, according to Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel.

Service is "getting back to normal" in the area, he said. That's just in the nick of time with the peak of afternoon rush hour coming up soon.

Metro Transit Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the fatal accident. Taubenkibel said that he couldn't say whether the victim who died is a male or female.

UPDATE (3:40 p.m.): The person struck by train pulling into the Columbia Heights station has died, Metro announced. Officials continue to say the "preliminary indication" is that the individual placed himself or herself on the track.

Trains are now sharing a single track between the Georgia Ave-Petworth and Shaw-Howard stations. In that area, Metro advises riders to allow at least 20 extra minutes for delays.

UPDATE (3:20 p.m.): According to aMetro news release, "the preliminary indication leads investigators to believe that the individual intentionally placed himself/herself (gender not yet confirmed) in the path of the train."

UPDATE (3:14 p.m.): Metro spokesman Taryn McNeil said the person struck was not an employee of the transit agency.

UPDATE (3:00 p.m.): Deputy Chief Kenneth Crosswhite, a spokesman for the fire department, said that the person struck by the train is still alive. He said the victim is an adult, but he said he did not know if they are male or female.

Green Line trains are still sharing one track between the Georgia Ave-Petworth station to the Shaw-Howard Metrorail station. According to a news release the agency just put out, "all Yellow Line trains are now operating only between the Huntington and Mt. Vernon Square/7th St-Convention Center" stations, which the agency says is "the usual Yellow Line route during rush hours."

Right now, there's no Yellow Line service between the Mt. Vernon Square and Fort Totten stations. Shuttle buses are being made available to assist those who want to get around the scene.

UPDATE (2:44 p.m.): The Columbia Heights Station has reopened, Metro spokeswoman Taryn McNeil said, after the person struck by the train was removed.

McNeil said the person struck was not an employee of the transit agency.

Trains are still sharing a single track between Georgia Avenue-Petworth and Shaw-Howard University stations.

UPDATE (2:22 p.m.): The Columbia Heights Metrorail station is closed, Metro said. Green Line trains, still sharing a single track between Georgia Ave. and U St., are passing through Columbia Heights, but the trains aren't stopping.

Metro spokeswoman Taryn McNeil said rescue efforts are ongoing, and she said she didn't know the status of the person struck. She said it was a six-car train.

D.C. Police units have also responded to the scene, said spokeswoman Helen Andrews. She said Metro Transit Police have also responded.

ORIGINAL POST (2:12 p.m.): A Yellow Line train struck a person at the Columbia Heights station at 1:55 p.m., according to Metro spokeswoman Taryn McNeil. The train was headed toward Huntington, she said. Shuttle buses are heading to the scene, and emergency crews are responding. She said it was not immediately clear what the condition of the person struck is or whether they are a customer or employee. Trains are single tracking from the Georgia Ave.-Petworth station to U Street.

By James Hohmann  |  September 17, 2009; 2:12 PM ET
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The Metro is taking out more people than the Swine flu...

Posted by: CHICO13 | September 17, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I wish people would stop using Metro as their method of suicide.

Posted by: Diner65 | September 17, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

The Final Destination series has gone too far.

Posted by: fbutler1 | September 17, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

I hate jumping to conclusions (no pun intended) but you have to be the dumbest person on earth to accidently get hit by a metro train. Either that or drunk. Didn't their mothers even tell them not to play near the tracks?

People have been using trains as a means to suicide since trains were invented. Using the metro is just a fad and if the post stopped publicizing it, people wouldn't try to make headlines every week.

Posted by: Rainier1 | September 17, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

PLEASE depressed people of DC, call a suicide line, but if that doesn't work, don't punish Metro when you kiss it all goodbye! Metro's year has been worse than yours I'd wager.

Posted by: monongahela79 | September 17, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

It's time to quit stopping trains for people on the track. Give 'em what they want. Just run over them. Every person hit (outside of Metro workers) has been a suicide.

Posted by: bflorhodes | September 17, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

WTOP is reporting that the teenager was one of a group playing "chicken" with the trains.

How exactly did they get access to the tracks? Doesn't Metro maintain its fences?

Posted by: WashingtonDame | September 17, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

What will be Catoe's excuse this time? The man should have been fired weeks ago.

Posted by: Axel2 | September 17, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

WMATA would be wise to do like Japan Rail - just accept train-related suicide as an inevitable occurence, and then streamline the cleanup process until it takes exactly 30 minutes to get everything back to normal again. It may sound bleak, but the current system is just hemmorhaging money and creating bad publicity :/

Posted by: NobodyInParticular1 | September 17, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

For the readers, who made such relentless remarks about the person who was struck by the train and has now been pronounced dead; must have never had it so bad to the point, you wanted to just end it all! In these times of the recession, war, and man-made destruction of our earth. Some people just may not want to live another day in this heinous world! And not to be contradictory, because I do believe that suicide is not our choice to make, to end our life. But, we will NEVER know what that person may have been going through or thinking before they decided to place themselves on those train tracks! Have a little sympathy...

Posted by: bigysmalz | September 17, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately this sort of thing will only become more common. The first and worst victims of the economic depression are the lost and mentally ill, as there are fewer people and facilities and resources to try to help them out.

Now, on the slim chance the radio report that this was some sort of prank gone wrong is in fact true, there's no point even commenting upon it, because the victim's cohorts are guaranteed to learn nothing from it, just as they learn nothing from anything.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | September 17, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

I don't know any particulars about the accident, but I was on the Green Line heading towards Greenbelt about 45 minutes after the incident, and although trains were "single-tracking", the delay was very minor for me.

Still, I'm concerned about the marked increase in this kind of death.

Posted by: whatitisis | September 17, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

If it turns out this kid was playing chicken with the train, then I think perhaps a Darwin Award nomination is due.

Posted by: chambers14 | September 17, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

According to others, the teenage boy was playing 'chicken'--- guess the train won again. So that makes it what now? Redline 23 Greenline 6?

Posted by: Aimhigh2000 | September 17, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Some of you have really dark hearts. Hopefully you feel blessed that you, a family member or friend have never felt the desire to commit suicide. If you haven't, you certainly cannot speak on it. Try being thankful for that instead of joking about someone who is suffering.

Unfortunately, suicidal people often CANNOT reach out for help and have lost control of how they think and feel. It is not a joke!

Posted by: shejoy | September 17, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

So it took them over an hour to determine the sex of a dead person. Something's not right there. It's not that hard to determine who's male and who's female!

Posted by: 1995hoo | September 17, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Put cow catchers on the front of first car, bounce the drunks/crazies/suicides aside and the trains just keep rolling on. Problem solved.

Posted by: checkered1 | September 17, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

It is always a sad time when a young person's life has ended. Regardless of this death resulting from playing a game, suicide, or a stumble, there are family members out there who will mourn this death and read these posts.

To the family of this young man, I offer my heartfelt sympathy.

Posted by: Ross65 | September 17, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

1995hoo you watch too much television. Obviously you have never been on a scene where a train runs over a human being. That is why it takes a long time to determine the gender of the deceased.

Posted by: MKadyman | September 17, 2009 9:28 PM | Report abuse

See, it seems to me that if you wanted to get killed by a train, you'd put your neck across the rail. It's by far the best way to guarantee that the job will get done, and if you're serious about suicide, isn't that all that matters. For purposes of my prior comment, it also ensures that the medics will be able to tell which sex (not "gender") you are. ("Gender" means masculinity or femininity, but whether the young man in question acted effeminate is not at issue.)

Posted by: 1995hoo | September 18, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

At the same time that I want to feel sympathy for these jumpers, I almost feel a bit of resentment.

I used to feel suicidal A LOT. But I reached out for help, and help reached out for me.

I don't want to take a "get over it" attitude to the depression that leads to suicide, but it's really a cry for attention, and all it takes is a made up mind to get free.

Posted by: alaiyo626 | September 18, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

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