Transient killed by stumbling against a MAX train

A witness described how this Hazelwood TriMet pedestrian accident occurred …

Portland Police Traffic Division and Transit Police Division begin investigating the death of a pedestrian said to have stumbled up against a MAX train at the 122nd Avenue Station on East Burnside Street.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
A man who stumbled into the side of a TriMet MAX Light Rail train bound from Gresham, near the 122nd Avenue Station, at 10:43 a.m. on July 7, died at the scene from his injuries.

“I saw an old-looking guy – he had dirty clothes and messed up hair – half-running and staggering southward on the east side of SE 122nd Avenue, heading toward East Burnside [Street],” said witness Egan Mitchell.

Officials close down the intersection at the 122nd Avenue Station on East Burnside Street as the investigation gets underway.

“It kind of looked he was trying to ‘catch the train’,” Mitchell told East Portland News. “He tripped or stumbled, and it looked like fell into the side of the passing train, maybe between the first and second car, as it pulled into the 122nd Avenue Station. I looked away; I knew he’d be killed.”

TriMet and police officials examine the MAX train for evidence as the investigation continues.

Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct officers shut down the outer East Portland intersection in all directions as Portland Fire & Rescue Engine 30 and an ambulance pulled up to the scene.

“Officers and medical personnel arrived and located the adult male victim suffering from traumatic injuries,” reported PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson. “Responding medical personnel pronounced him deceased at the scene.”

The PPB Transit Police Division and Major Crash Team investigated the incident, and said alcohol may be a factor in the man’s death.

The Traffic Division’s Major Crash Team sets up their Total Station surveying device and begins documenting the scene.

Later, Simpson identified as victim as 51-year-old David Paul Cain. “It appears as if he is a transient. The Oregon State Medical Examiner is awaiting toxicology results, which are expected to take several weeks.”

A preliminary investigation revealed the MAX train driver was properly operating the train, and was passing through the intersection when the man stumbled against the moving train, Simpson confirmed.

MAX Blue Line service was stopped for several hours, but was restored shortly after 1 p.m. that afternoon.

© 2014 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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