Late last night, a man jumped in front of Link in SoDo. He climbed over the Jersey barrier south of Holgate. He went under the train, and did not live.

It’s disappointing when someone decides that’s their only way out. I feel sorry for the operator, too. I hope Metro offers a good mental health plan, and I hope the operator gets paid leave if they want it.

58 Replies to “It’s Going To Happen”

  1. The rail haters are already cynically using this to try to discredit our rail system on the Seattle Times website. They demand a level of safety far above what they accept for their beloved automobiles…

    1. Of course, they don’t discredit freight trains, where this happens pretty regularly.

  2. Local news tends to not report suicides (bridge jumps, guns, etc) so it will be interesting to see how these are handled in the future.

  3. Sounds like a suicide act. He went over the fence and did this on purpose, so I wouldn’t be surprised. It doesn’t mean it’s being discredited….stupid anti rail people. *rme*

    1. could also just be drunk … like those idiots who climbed on top of the Amtrak train in Boston and then sued when they got zapped by the catenary lines there

      1. I agree, Jessica and these so called ‘comments’ are supposed to be an excellent replacement for official letters to the newspaper. I used to have letters published on transportation in the Times, but I don’t bother with these ‘twitter’ like missives people send to the website.

        It is sad when anyone uses anything in the city to play out their suicidal thoughts – whether it be the Aurora Bridge or now, Link. These things are sadly inevitable in a complex society with a screwed up economic situation. The weather is hot and oppressive too – all a bad mix….

      2. People, people, clearly there is only one option. The lake is evidently such a waste of taxpayer money. Let’s stick wheels on it and let it run on existing roads, which should be widened tenfold.

      3. Think about how much we’ll improve traffic flow if we just drain the thing and pave a few dozen lanes of freeway.

    1. The seattle times in general has turned into a joke lately. I’m not sure how such a liberal city ended up with a paper like that. The headline on seattle times bothers me: “Light-rail train kills man on tracks”. They make it sound like light rail was at fault.

      1. At least up until the demise of the PI, the bulk of the subscribership for the Seattle Times actually came from the Eastside and not Seattle proper. Hence the Times tends to reflect a more conservative, pro-roads agenda then you would find in more progressive Seattle proper. And of course ownership has an impact too….

        That said, the loss of the PI has really allowed the Times to dumb down there coverage and start adding all sorts of annoying on-line adds. Even as an only paper, they are still under financial stress and their recent declines in quality attest to just how bad it is.

      2. A number of people have been predicting the Times may soon follow the PI and cease publication. Both because of the difficulties in the newspaper business as a whole and because of their over-leveraged financial position.

      3. Gotta love this. “Oops, we quoted someone who doesn’t actually exist.” Even better is that they discovered the error because someone at the Stranger was trying to follow up…

      1. They should add a function to ‘ignore’ and hide comments by people you don’t want to read. There’s a particular list of trolls that have been going at it for years and years.

    2. Luckily, for every troll there’s three reasonable comments. I think people are getting the gist that suicides by train happen so frequently, that if this is at all surprising, you must have been living in a box.

  4. If I was the person in charge of paid leave for Metro, I’d offer it to the operator if they needed it. I know I would need both paid leave + counseling if I was the operator.
    Thoughts & prayers with the operator, their family, and any passenger who saw/realized what happened

  5. I know the bus driver who yanked out the wires on my route nearly had a nervous breakdown from the amazingly negative reaction from riders, so I can only imagine how this driver is feeling.

      1. Yeah, the Madrona Loop has gotten screwed up a couple of times in the past couple of years like that.

      2. Trolleybus got snagged on the wires, it pulled off a couple of the guidewires and they became impassable.

    1. Bus passengers – regardless of walk of life – tend to go from a relatively civilized group of human beings to a savage band of “Lord of the Flies” idiots in a relatively short period of time when anything goes wrong with a bus.

      There’s nothing like trying to correct a problem with people complaining, firing rapid fire questions, demanding off (and on) the bus, banging on the bus etc. all while traffic is backing up.

      Good times.

    1. But do note the one mode that has 10,000 times the deaths of the others. Somehow I suspect the people slamming light rail for this man’s death would likely say he had it coming if he climbed over the barrier from the pedestrian/bike path on the I-90 bridge and got hit by a truck.

      1. It does also have many times the use, but yeah, by passenger mile, rail is still much safer.

  6. I hope they examine the video, if there is any, before they conclude he “jumped in front of the train.” Because if they are just going by what the Link operator observed, we must remember that he could be mistaken. The person could have been trying to “beat the train.” Maybe he though he could avoid the train by running in front of it, but to the operator, it looked like he wanted to get hit, when he really didn’t.

    1. I don’t think there was anywhere for him to go on the other side (except the other track). My understanding is that it was pretty cut and dry.

    2. It is the victims fault, plain and simple, not the fault of the driver. He climbed over a barrier and was trespassing on the tracks. Please give up your transit operator distracted by cell phones witch hunt.

      Did it occur to you that maybe they have looked at the video and that’s how they concluded he jumped in front of the train?

      1. [Comment edited: ad hominem]

        I happen to believe that whenever there is a fatal bus or train crash, immediate drug tests should be performed, and cell phone records should be checked. If it’s found that an operator was on their cell phone at the time of the fatal crash, no matter who’s at fault, they should be fired.

      2. I believe those checks should be done if there is reason to believe the operator did something wrong. In this case it is pretty clear that the operator did nothing to cause this event to happen. Just because someone works for a public agency does not mean that they should be expected to give up their constitutional rights.

  7. There’s a lot of sketchy/messed up people in that part of town: There’s a big rehab/meth clinic on Airport Way, and all the folks from Pioneer Square and The Jungle. This was bound to happen, and will happen again.

    Gates won’t help. Even grade separation won’t help much. These people are just mentally addled. It’s sad, but it’s life.

    1. What could help would be better funding for services to permanently house people who can’t take care of themselves. We have programs for it, just not enough of them. Some percentage of people just need our help.

      1. I agree with you, Ben, but I don’t have much hope for that sort of compassion and pragmatism in contemporary American society.

  8. I also hope, but I doubt they will, get the cell phone records of the Link operator, to see if he was on a call at the time of the crash. I think whenever there’s a crash or fatality, even when it looks like the Link operator isn’t to blame, I think their cell records should be examined to make sure they weren’t distracted at the time of the crash.

    1. I’m of the opinion that if you’re on trackway, it’s always your fault. Period. I don’t care if the driver was doing ikebana.

      1. So you don’t think bus drivers or train operators should be drug tested or have their cell phone records examined when they are involved in a fatal accident?

      2. This was a suicide — plain and simple, and the authorities have already ruled so. You seem to be trying to turn this into something that it isn’t. But, regardless of what your motives are, you can rest assured that all protocols will be followed in investigating and closing out this incident.

        Bottom line? This was not an “accident”, it was a suicide. Time to move on.

      3. Any operator of a Metro coach involved in an accident that results in injury or death will be tested for drugs – regardless of fault. Positive results for drugs are relatively rare so this typically ends up being a CYA move for both Metro and the driver. I am not aware of any policy for checking cell phone records – the idea has merit provided there are guidelines to protect innocents. (Don’t hang me if somebody sends me a text message but there’s no evidence that I was actually interacting with my phone… I can’t even hear the stupid thing while I’m driving) I can’t speak to policies for Link operators but I’m sure that the rules for them are much more stringent.

        Hey Sam, since you seem so gung-ho about checking for drugs and cell-phone use, would you be willing to submit to such scrutiny as a private citizen?

      4. Speaking of which, shouldn’t a drug test and cell phone records search be done for every car accident that leads to injury or death? It’s not like driving a car is any safer than driving a train (much less safe, actually).

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