Pedestrian Struck at Columbia Heights Metro

no perspectives?, originally uploaded by cacophony76.

From @dcfireems on twitter:

“ped struck Col Hgts Metro 14th & Columbia NW DC F&EMS enroute”

Will update as more info becomes available. While it is not yet known if it is a suicide, here is our discussion on that topic from last week.


“Disruption at Columbia Heights. Trains are sharing the same track between Georgia Avenue and Shaw-Howard University due to a person struck by a train at Columbia Heights station. Expect delays in both directions.”

From @Metroopensdoors:

Columbia Heights station has reopened. Trains are sharing the same track between Georgia Avenue and Shaw-HU. Expect delays”

Full WMATA Press Release:

“A person was struck by a six-car Yellow Line train as it pulled into the Columbia Heights Metrorail station today at 1:55 p.m. The train was headed downtown.

The preliminary indication leads investigators to believe that the individual intentionally placed himself/herself (gender not yet confirmed) in the path of the train.

Columbia Heights Metrorail station is open. It was closed from 1:55 to 2:40 p.m. while emergency crews responded to the scene. Currently Green Line trains are single tracking (sharing one track) between the Georgia Ave-Petworth Metrorail station to the Shaw-Howard Metrorail station. All Yellow Line trains are now operating only between the Huntington and Mt. Vernon Square/7th St-Convention Center Metrorail stations, which is the usual Yellow Line route during rush hours. There is no Yellow Line service between Mt. Vernon Square and Fort Totten Metrorail stations.

Shuttle buses also have been requested to assist customers who want to get around the incident.”

@dcfireems updates:

teenage male removed from under train green/yellow line inbound near center platform- pri 1 life-threatening injuries”.

31 Comment

  • How many does that make this year?

  • Person apparently has a pulse and EMS is transporting to a hospital.

  • whole intersection of 14th & Columbia, Irving & Kenyon are pretty jammed up with emergency vehicles – avoid the whole area.

  • my boyfriend just called to tell me that the metro area was all taped off and didn’t know why…
    this site is one of the best sources of info for me since moving to dc.
    never thought i’d say that about the internet/a blog!

  • Apprently this is the ninth suicide attempt of the year (according to dcist)

  • Columbia Heights station is CLOSED. Trains are moving through the station, but not stopping at CH metro stop.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    @Kalorini as of 2:40 the station was open according to WMATA. Please see full press release I just posted.

  • There is a special place in hell for those who chose to commit suicide this way. The public servant driving the train is going to have to live with this the rest of his life. Is coming up with a drug cocktail to do the deed really that hard?

  • RD people who attempt suicide are residing in their own hell..

  • Just walked by, and rumors are flying that it was a stabbing. Any more info?

  • What can be done about this? Obviously, providing support through suicide hotlines is important, but perhaps there could be signs advertising these services in the stations, or (as a more expensive, longer-term solution) installation of plexiglass barriers like you see in some other cities…


  • What will plexiglass barriers do? I assume we’re going to start doing that on sidewalks, as well?

    If someone reaches that point they’re going to find to a way to commit suicide regardless.

  • I was on the train right behind it and wee got held up in the Metro for 10 mins or so. My train was routed to the tracks on the other side and I could see a bunch of rescue personnel work on two parts of the train. It looked like the person got struck right by where the escalators come down onto the platform. It looked like the victim was possibly dragged for another 30+ feet . . . but I’m sure if that’s what happened.

  • Damn, extra messed up – sounds like the victim may be a student from Bell Highschool just down the block from the station.

  • According to a Metro spokesperson, a 15 or 16-year-old boy placed himself on the tracks and was hit by a train. D.C. Fire and EMS tells WTOP the boy suffered massive injuries and the prognosis does not look good.

    Sources say the boy placed himself on the tracks as part of a game of chicken involving several other teenagers.

    He was a student at Bell Multicultural High School.

  • He was playing a game of chicken?!?!? That is completely insane.

  • DCist is reporting that he died from his injuries.

  • Whether this was a suicide or a foolish teenage game gone bad as they so often do, this is terribly sad. He was just a kid.

    Thank to Warderite for offering solutions. I don’t believe that suicide is a foregone conclusion once a person contemplates taking their life. I’m not sure what can be done about poor teenage judgement, but likely the same thing – outreach and education.

  • It is never the impact that kills a person, it is when they are thrown under the train and run over/dragged. Sometimes people survive this, but it is very rare. There is a bar that runs between the wheels under the train that leaves no room for anyone to fit under the trains, unlike the NYC Subway where you can actually fit if you are laying between the rails.

  • What a horrible story.

  • How many of us males did stupid things at that age that could have cost us our lives? I am raising my hand as high as possible. Me and my chums used to stand in the back of a pickup truck as it barreled down the road, and the last one standing won. Then there were giant parties with huge bonfires on frozen over lakes and ponds. Then there was the drunken wandering through woods, totally lost, late at night so we could find our cars and drive home. Yes, I am white trash, thank you.

    This kid was up to the same sort of stuff but got hit, it was all fun and games up to that point.

  • What a sad, sad story.

    I suppose that at that hour the platform is pretty empty, but I wonder if anyone else on the platform saw the kids playing.

    What would you have done? Would you have told them to get out? What will you do next time if you see it happening again?

  • The WTOP article says the game of chicken was according to an eyewitness. I probably wouldn’t say anything as it probably happens so fast you wouldn’t really have a chance. Ie, they stuck their heads over the track as it was approaching and one got hit, they probably didn’t hang out there all day doing it over and over again.

  • Just not dang worth it, his whole good life ahead of him. Fuck!

    When we were kids we used to try to ride the outside of the traincar to the next stop, riding on the back coupling. Why boys do such dumbass things is a wonder. It was fun for everyone until someone fell off and died, our group stopped fucking around then, that’s for sure. I once fell off at relatively low speed and man oh man, the momentum passed along to the human body was incredible, I’m lucky I didn’t crack my skull.

    My sympathies to his family and friends….and to WMATA, didn’t they just announce a crackdown on unruly teens like days ago??

  • I was at the CH station at 1:40 waiting for the Huntington train. I believe I got on the train before the train that hit the kid and I saw no activity that would lead to this happening. I suppose that makes sense though since if the kids were there then, they would have gotten on to the same train I did.

  • Another white trash male here. My friends and I used to race head-on towards trains onto a bridge and hug the side rail right before it would hit us with two feet to spare. We did for the “rush”. And I don’t consider myself chromasone deficient. Just youthful.

    Suicide or chicken, it’s very sad.

  • It may be too early to speculate since we don’t know the specifics of the kid’s situation yet (WaPo just reported he was by himself), but I have heard that kids are more susceptible to copycat behavior — I really, really, hope this kid wasn’t influenced by the other recent suicides on Metro.

  • I was at the Anacostia station last year when a passle of teens were waiting for a train. They were pushing each other towards the tracks, laughing and yelling. Metro personnel present, but not willing to take on these ruffians.

  • For what it’s worth, according to the article in today’s Post the teenager was alone and there is no evidence of horseplay or foulplay.

    Teen Jumps in Front of Train

    By James Hohmann
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Friday, September 18, 2009

    A 15-year-old who jumped in front of a Metro train at the Columbia Heights station died Thursday, the transit agency said.
    He was the seventh person to intentionally step in front of a train since June. On Sunday, a 19-year-old man was fatally struck by a Red Line train at Gallery Place Station.
    Metro board Chairman Jim Graham said suicides in rail stations are “happening with alarming frequency.”
    On Thursday, a Yellow Line train headed toward downtown hit the teen at 1:55 p.m. Metro sources familiar with footage from a surveillance camera at the scene said he was alone. There are no indications of horseplay or foul play, officials said.
    The teenager was transported by emergency crews to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, said Pete Piringer, spokesman for D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services.
    The youth’s name is being withheld because he is a minor.
    “This is now a crisis problem for Metro in how to deal with the determined efforts of people who are committing suicides in our subways,” said Graham, a D.C. Council member who represents Ward 1, where the incident took place. “If we needed another great challenging issue — and we don’t — this is it.”
    The station closed for 45 minutes, and trains going in both directions in that area shared a single track for nearly two-and-a-half hours. Metro Transit Police continue to investigate.

  • The copycat phenomenon for media-reported suicides has been verified by scientific studies.

    There’s a reason the media don’t usually report suicides. I’m not sure I agree with this media self-censorship (“we’re keeping you in the dark for your own good”), but in the case of suicides, it’s understandable.

    As unintended consequences go, this one was fairly predictable. The 22 June Red Line crash all of a sudden made all Metro-related incidents “newsworthy”, thus effectively lifting the media’s blackout on Metro suicides. And since then, Metro suicides have killed nearly as many people as the 22 June crash.

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