By Christine Clarridge and Asia Fields / The Seattle Times
Two men were struck and killed by Sound Transit trains in separate collisions in Sumner and Kent on Tuesday, and a third person may have been hit in Seattle, according to the agency.
The first collision occurred around 5:30 a.m. when a train heading from Lakewood to Seattle struck a 54-year-old Puyallup man south of Sumner Station in Pierce County. The train was shut down there for about three hours as the medical examiner investigated, and around seven trains were delayed behind it, according to Sound Transit. Buses transported passengers to Federal Way to board buses to Seattle.
A second man was killed after being struck in Kent around 5 p.m. by a train heading from Tacoma to Seattle, said spokeswoman Rachelle Cunningham. Two south-line trains out of Tacoma and two out of Seattle were canceled Tuesday evening, while others experienced delays.
The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the Puyallup man’s death a suicide. A determination has not been made in the second man’s death, but initial investigation indicates the collision “appears to have been the result of intentional actions on the part of the pedestrian,” according to a statement from the Kent Police Department.
At least 19 people have died after being struck by trains in Washington this year, including the two deaths Tuesday, according to a list kept by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission. Of those, 17 were pedestrians, one was a bicyclist and one was in a car.
Most of the collisions involved freight trains. The agency documented four involving Amtrak passenger trains and one involving a Sounder train, also in Kent, before Tuesday.
A third person may have been hit Tuesday morning by a Sounder train, but officials are still determining whether they were actually struck. The person was standing “very close” to the tracks near Carkeek Park when a train coming into Seattle from Everett passed by, Cunningham said. He lost his footing and hit his head on the ground, she said.
Whether the man was struck was unclear Tuesday. Cunningham said the engineer and conductor stopped the train and said they heard a noise and thought someone was struck, but that the person told a King County Sheriff’s deputy he hadn’t been hit. A sheriff’s spokesman was not immediately able to confirm this.
Commuters can visit Sound Transit’s website, soundtransit.org, for updates when trains are disrupted, including a list of all lines affected and suggested bus routes to use instead.
Seattle Times reporter Mike Lindblom contributed to this report.