Geoffrey Hunter, 61, a former police captain who was working in the agency's emergency management office, died June 10 "following a work-related injury," Metro General Manager Richard Sarles wrote to employees in a weekly newsletter. He will be the 27th worker added to Metro's memorial of employees who died while doing their jobs, located inside the Metro Center station.
Hunter injured his back and leg on May 9 when he fell while leaving a charter bus, said Metro spokesman Dan Stessel. Originally, he didn't think much of it, Stessel said, but it continued to bother him. He went to the hospital 12 days later.
"His health deteriorated following surgery," Stessel said.
Hunter worked for the Metro Transit Police from 1978 to 2001, but retired after 23 years, according to the newsletter. He rejoined the agency in 2009 and was recently working as a program manager focused on countering chemical and biological terrorism.
The Tri-State Oversight Committee, charged with overseeing Metro's safety, was not notified of the death, said Chairman Matt Bassett, but the nature of the case did not appear to require it.
Metro had a spate of worker deaths in 2009 and 2010, in addition to the deadly Fort Totten train crash, that prompted the agency to re-evaluate its safety culture.
But as recently as May 29, a Metro mechanic was critically injured when he was hit by a train in a rail-car washing shop in the Shady Grove rail yard. The 28-year employee had his head down as he entered the shop from an outside door and was hit due to a "temporary loss of situational awareness," according to Metro.
Although the train was traveling at 7 mph, the mechanic was dragged 38 feet and it took more than an hour for rescue crews to free him. He has remained hospitalized in critical but stable condition, having lost a foot, among other injuries.
Metro said last week it is installing safety mirrors and locks on such exterior doors at rail shops in response to his accident.