Woman struck and killed by Blue Line light-rail train in south Minneapolis

  • Article by: JOY POWELL , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 20, 2014 - 9:09 PM

The pedestrian was struck as she crossed E. 35th Street in Minneapolis.

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The Medical examiner readies a stretcher at the scene.

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A pedestrian was hit and killed by a Blue Line light-rail train Friday afternoon along Hiawatha Avenue, a Metro Transit spokesman said.

The accident happened just before 3 p.m. at the intersection of E. 35th Street. The woman was north of the crossing, where gates arms were down with lights flashing, said spokesman John Siqveland.

“The train went into emergency braking north of the intersection, came to rest in the intersection, so it was blocking 35th until this cleared,” he said.

Train service was affected for a little more than two hours, with replacement bus service during that time between the Franklin Avenue and 46th Street stations.

Hiawatha Avenue remained open to traffic, though traffic was slowed in the area.

The woman’s identity and cause of death — including whether she intentionally or accidentally moved in front of the train — are to be released later by the Hennepin County medical examiner’s office.

She was headed east on E. 35th Street, Siqveland said, but it wasn’t immediately clear whether she was walking or running.

“Investigators don’t know until they get into it exactly what happened,” he said, noting that the train speeds in that area are typically 40 to 45 miles per hour.

The investigation could take a few days to several weeks, he said.

Investigators were downloading train data, including speed and when brakes were applied.

The rail operator has been interviewed and has taken drug and alcohol tests, which is standard procedure. Counseling is available to operators involved in accidents, as well as a Metro Transit peer support network, Siqveland said.

Trains were running again shortly after 5 p.m., Siqveland said.

The scene is seven blocks from where a man was hit by a Metro Transit light-rail train, at 42nd Street and Hiawatha Avenue, last January.

Eleven people have been killed by light-rail trains since they began running in Minneapolis a decade ago, and most were pedestrians.

Staff Writer Matt McKinney contributed to this report. Joy Powell • 612-673-7750

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