Man hit, dragged by Metro train in apparent suicide attempt

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Local,Transportation,Kytja Weir

A 39-year-old Maryland man was seriously injured Monday when he was hit, then dragged by a Red Line train at Union Station in what Metro said is the latest suicide attempt via its train system.

Five people have killed themselves via trains this calendar year, while five others have survived their attempts, albeit with massive injuries.

On Monday, the man was struck by the side of the train's front car at about 10:50 a.m., after he took "several purposeful" steps toward the train as it came into the station, said Metro spokesman Dan Stessel. Both video and witness accounts indicate his movements appeared intentional, he said.

Suicides by Metro train
2009: 11 deaths and 3 attempts
2010: 3 deaths and 2 attempts
2011: 6 deaths and 4 attempts
2012 to date: 5 deaths and 5 attempts
Source: Metro
Need help?
The American Association of Suicidology says the best intervention comes before a person heads to the subway. The association urges friends, family and co-workers to take seriously warning signs, which include:
» Increased alcohol or drug use
» No reason for living or lack of sense of purpose
» Anxiety, agitation, difficulty sleeping or sleeping all the time
» Withdrawal from friends, family and society
Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline's toll-free number, 800-273-TALK (8255), for direct help or guidance on how to intervene.

The man was then hit by multiple cars and dragged along the platform. He cut his leg on the granite platform edge, Stessel said, among other injuries.

He remained in serious but stable condition Monday afternoon. The man's name was not released, but Metro said he is from Largo.

Due to what the agency told riders was a "medical emergency," the transit system shut down the station until 11:20 a.m., with trains passing through the busy hub without stopping. Once the station reopened, Metro continued to force trains onto a single track between NoMa-Gallaudet and Judiciary Square stations for another 50 minutes or so while crews cleaned up the platform.

Union Station is Metro's busiest station. It is equipped with lit signs encouraging suicidal riders to seek help as part of Metro's new campaign to reduce suicide attempts via train. Monday's attempt was the third attempt since Metro began posting the signs; one of the three cases ended in death.

kweir@washingtonexaminer.com

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Kytja Weir

Staff Writer - Transportation
The Washington Examiner