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BREAKING: Person Struck By Train at Ballston Metro

by ARLnow.com | January 7, 2013 at 11:35 am | 16,670 views | 187 Comments

Emergency response at the Ballston Metro station (photo courtesy @Go88fish)

Update at 3:45 p.m. — Two-track service has resumed on the Orange Line between Virginia Square and East Falls Church, according to WMATA. The Ballston Metro station has reopened.

Earlier: Metro service has been suspended between Virginia Square and East Falls Church due to a person struck by a train at the Ballston Metro station.

A woman “appears to have intentionally placed herself in the path of an arriving inbound Orange Line train,” according to WMATA. She is deceased, according to Metro spokesman Dan Stessel.

Emergency response at the Ballston Metro station (photo courtesy Nicolevins)Numerous emergency responders are on the scene and the power to the tracks has been shut off to allow recovery of the body. Orange Line service has been temporarily suspended between Virginia Square and East Falls Church as a result. The Ballston Metro station is closed to the public.

“Metrobus is sending shuttle buses for affected customers,” WMATA said.

Stessel says Metro is awaiting the arrival of a medical examiner and does not have an estimate for when the station will reopen.

One Twitter user described “teary eyed folks leaving Ballston station” immediately following the incident.

Photo (top) courtesy @go88fish and (bottom) courtesy @Nicolevins

If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, help is a phone call away. Call Crisis Link at 703-527-4077.

Section: News, Transit | Tags: ,
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  • novasteve

    In NYC you have people being thrown on the tracks, here you have people jumping on the tracks. Should something be done? Outlaw the metro? Mandate barriers which will bankrupt the system due to the cost?

    • NoVA RN

      On some days, I wonder if it’d be too good for all of us if Metro was outlawed.

      • IamUrFodder

        When Metro is outlawed, only outlaws will ride metro.

        • b0rk

          And the hipsters. Don’t forget them.

        • bobbytiger

          We obviously need to pass a law to institute a “No Jump Free Zone” at the Metro. That should take care of it.

    • Mairin

      Outlawing the metro? We might as well outlaw cars, bridges, rivers.. the list could go on. It isn’t the inanimate objects that have the issue. It is the people. Something is seriously wrong with our culture with the increasing suicide/homicide rates. We need to stop blaming objects and start blaming ourselves.

      • Josh S

        What are the statistics on the suicide and murder rates? Are they actually higher now than in the past?

        • drax
          • novasteve

            The lower homicide rate could merely be because of medical advances. People survive gunshots they would have died from in the 1970s. Just this weekend in Chicago 18 people were shot, 12 didn’t die. In the past you would have had higher homicide rates, despite chicago breaking 500 this year simply due to the medical advances that have been made in recent years.

          • Mairin

            I think it depends on the area and the demographic that is being looked into. Whichever way you look at it, the train can’t be blamed.

          • drax

            Good point, Steve.

          • Roallin

            “Just this weekend in Chicago 18 people were shot, 12 didn’t die.” The gang-bangers in Chicago are most likely set on using 9 mm’s. If they were shooting 45′s, I think more would have died.

    • Dezlboy

      Sure, outlaw metro. Sometimes I think your a troll.

      • Dezlboy

        Er, correction: you’re a troll . No harm intended. Just an observation. and you ought to be ignored. Starting with me. I’m sure you’re disappointed. :-)

        • Josh S

          Sooner or later, this is just part of being a regular reader at ARLNow.com – you decide to ignore novasteve.

          • Major Pup McPuppo Jr.

            i will never ignore novasteve. he truly is the best at this whole “making comments on the internet” thing.

    • Buster

      A ban on assault trains?

      • B22201

        Only high-capacity trains. Low capacity trolleys are okay.

      • b0rk

        Just the scary looking ones with rail shrouds and black paint. They are the real dangerous ones!

    • Hank

      Are you using someone’s apparent suicide attempt to reiterate your annoyance with the so-called “nanny state” and/or gun control?

    • Kei

      Hong Kong has glass barriers with sliding doors that do not open until a train is stopped and it’s doors open as well. If we could afford it, it would avoid suicides, homicide by pushing people in the tracks, or incidents like that idiot french tourist crawling into the tracks to try to cross them in Metro Center.

  • Amused

    I can hear the fire trucks and ambulances going past my office in Clarendon. Lots of them.

    • Dude Where’s My Car

      Likewise, not even in Ballston and I have been hearing sirens for 10 minutes. HUGE emergency response.

      “Technical rescue” makes me wonder if someone is pinned under the train.

    • Not Me

      No hurry.

  • DeportEmAll

    I don’t understand why suicides choose to inconvenience so many others by jumping onto the track.

    • Arlygirl

      They are mentally ill and not working from a well mental state to be able to think that through.

    • drax

      Because of comments like this.

      • Josh S

        +100

    • brodies

      To be fair, at least this lady waited until after the morning rush. Imagine if this had happened at 8 AM . . .

      Hope she survives without severe lasting injuries and can get the help she needs.

      • Mike Scott

        It’s bad, but I had the same first thought. Would have been worse if this happened during the morning rush or at Rosslyn or something.

      • Arlingtonian

        She’s dead.

    • Roallin

      Right. They should be more considerate. It is like jumpers who land on other peoples cars and wreck them.

      • R

        Well, what about people who step out into traffic and nearly cause the death of other people in the process of killing themselves. I was on I95 in Aberdeen, MD in August and a woman decided to step into traffic driving at speed in the left lane to kill herself about 10 cars in front of me sending cars in every direction all over the highway and her body flinging through the air like a ragdoll, which is an image my wife and I will never get out of our heads. I hate to be insensitive about it, but her being “inconsiderate” in her chosen way to ending her life could have killed plenty of others including my family. The poor guy who hit her will probably never be the same with the emotional trauma she caused to a complete stranger. If you want to off yourself, do it in the privacy of your own home where you aren’t putting others at risk. I feel for people who think there is no other way to solve their problems, but in these cases their last act is a selfish one.

        • drax

          Did you confirm that this was a suicide and not an accident?

          • R

            Yes, she left a suicide note in her car that was parked on the center median. Since I know you are one of the resident doubters of everyone on this site, go ahead and google the incident if you would like. I was driving northbound at about 8:45pm on a Thursday night. I understand the woman was obviously disturbed but many people could have died. I can still clearly see her face when I think about it. Horrible sight to see.

  • ArlRes

    At least 13 emergency vehicles, and the technical rescue unit are all on site.

  • fedworker

    damn!

  • James Moron

    The only logical response would be to make sure each train is properly armed to prevent people from jumping in front of it.

    • Greg

      Massive pillows on the front of the train.

  • James

    Do we know if they jumped or were pushed?

  • YTK

    Suicide or not, let’s say a prayer for that person — and the responders

    • Dude Where’s My Car

      Amen.

    • Jane-Dallas

      Yes, that’s sure to accomplish something.

      • Dude Where’s My Car

        at least as much as a snide comment on a web site.

        • b0rk

          You’re right — precisely zero effect except a “feel good” moment for the one doing it.

      • Major Pup McPuppo Jr.

        classy

    • Mairin

      Agreed.

  • BPMBA

    Just back from London, where they have clear banks of doors on the platforms that open only when the train pulls into the station. That would solve the jumper/pusher problem. It wouldn’t solve Metro drivers’ inability to line up train car doors with platform doors…

    • Zimmerman

      And I know just the vendor who can install this for cheap!

      • KalashniKEV

        ^ That was funny.

    • Samer

      The platform doors are only on the newer lines in London. Jubilee line is the most obvious one, though a few other have them, too.

    • Wow&Flutter

      Not every Tube station has the platform screens, only on the Jubilee Line Extension. Nevertheless, it’s not an uncommon idea, and there are added benefits:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platform_screen_doors

      • BPMBA

        Yup – I only rode the Jubilee line. :)

    • Tim

      One line in London’s Underground has platform doors. Ten lines don’t. The cost of putting them in new construction is very high, and retrofitting is astronomical.

      Plus, you’re stuck with one train type forever, because it has to line up with the platform doors. And if trains don’t stop at the exact right spot, they’re worthless.

      • Ricardo

        Metro seems stuck with the current trains anyway, however. I’ve never seen a subway system whose train doors are so far spaced apart as DC’s. That is one reason people get so snarky on the subway–the doors are always congested because there are so few of them.

      • Josh S

        Since they all pull forward to the front of the platform, Metro trains are extraordinary consistent in where the doors open. It always amazes me that more people haven’t figured that out.

        • Major Pup McPuppo Jr.

          i know it, i stand in the same spots each time. within a foot or two of the doors consistently.

        • Joan Fountain

          Most haven’t even figured out which end of the train to get on to put them by the exit they need to take.

        • OCD

          Time for an ArlNOW poll – do you stand on Metro platform at a place where you know doors will open and close to your escalator/exit? It can make a diff in making your next train…

    • CW

      Question regarding metro drivers not being able to line up cars with doors. When i first moved here in 2009, it was right after the big red line crash, and there was all of this talk about the cars going onto “manual control” i.e. the drivers actually driving, and fleeting references to the previous system being some sort of computer control. I then remember for years afterwards, people talking (such as in chats with Dr. Gridlock of WaPo) about going back to the automated system. So, for the experts – was metro ever automated a la the skytrains at Dulles, and is there still any talk of going back to that, if it was the case?

      • drax

        It was something about updating all the sensors that tell the computer where the trains are – a bad one caused the Red Line crash. The plan was to go back to automatic when they fixed that problem. Don’t know where it stands.

        • Juanita de Talmas

          Replacing those sensors is the “track work” that greatly reduces Metro service nearly every weekend. It’s not supposed to be finished until 2016, at the earliest.

      • Josh S

        Never automated a la Dulles (no drivers at all) but yes, computer-controlled to a much greater degree than now, especially starts and stops. It seems like the system is smoother now than it was in the first months after the Red Line accident, but I don’t know if that is becaused of increased automation or better driver training.

      • answer

        Metro was automated almost all the time until the red line crash. They have been 100% manual operation since then.

        • CW

          Thanks all!

  • ArlRes

    Even more units are on the scene now – perhaps 20 in all It’s an amazing response for a very sad situation.

  • Seriously

    People will find a way to kill themselves no matter what we try to do to prevent it. We can’t “suicide proof” everything on this planet for heavens sake.

    • NoVA RN

      Nobody said to “suicide proof everything on this whole planet”. But aside from the seemingly obvious mental health implications that suicide by train has (although I question how obvious they are judging by some of the comments here), having somebody purposely put themselves in front of an oncoming train is extremely traumatic for anybody who witnesses that event, creates a commuting headache for Metro riders, costs a LOT of money, and utilizes a lot of resources. Putting additional barriers up to prevent it from constantly happening could really benefit a lot of parties.

      • Justin Russo

        I question that this is “constantly happening”.

      • Realistic

        Have I missed something in the news? When did we start having a problem on the DC metro where jumping in front of trains is “constantly happening”?
        How many people ride the metro a day? a year?
        How often does this happen, in 25 years of living in DC, I can think of maybe 2 times. To your original point, if the idea is to prevent cooks from jumping in front of trains, the money is better spent treating cooks because they will just find another way of offing themselves. Reactive, event driven, emotionally motivated spending is what made our country bankrupt in the first place.

        • novasteve

          There are several of these per year. I’m sure at least 5-10 happened last year, not 2 over 25 years as you said. They’re obviously getting more common because now they have suicide hotline signs up all over the place.

          • Captain_Obvious

            There have always been suicide hotlines…

          • Dezlboy

            novasteve, “…more common because now they have suicide hotline signs up all over the place.”

            Proof? Source?

          • drax

            There is a new prevention initiative on Metro following the record suicide attempts in 2009.

        • NoVA RN

          There were actually at least 5 suicide attempts last year on Metro (http://inthecapital.com/2012/10/16/red-line-death-this-morning-is-wmatas-fifth-metro-suicide-this-year/). I’m not sure how often you ride Metro, but you’re lucky if you can think of only 2 times in your 25-year tenure. I actually had to purchase a car and start driving to work (in lieu of taking Metro) because delays (such as ones caused by suicide attempts) were making me late to work even though I was leaving abundantly early.

          • good point!

            great idea! because, unlike Metro, there are never any delays on the roads around here!

          • NoVA RN

            Ah, yes, but I’m not stuck standing in a tunnel between Court House and Rosslyn for over 20 minutes with no updates on what the problem is anymore. At least I can take a detour and get to my destination in my own vehicle.

          • good point

            How’s that working out for you today?

        • Anon
        • drax

          You are not paying attention. There are about 5 suicides on Metro every year. Metro started a special suicide prevention program after 2009, a year which had 11 suicides and 3 attempts.

        • drax

          Found some stats:

          http://www.wmata.com/about_metro/board_of_directors/board_docs/030812_5DSuicideInterventionProgramMarch82012.pdf

          p. 6

          59 suicides or attempted suicides on Metro between 2005 and 2012.

          • CW

            Gosh, that sounds nontrivial to me.

        • drax

          “Reactive, event driven, emotionally motivated spending is what made our country bankrupt in the first place.”

          Turns out it was your post that was reactive and not based on facts, Realistic.

          You could have prevented that with a simple visit to Google.

      • BlueLoom

        You left out the effect on the train driver. A friend’s brother is a train engineer, and she relates to me that this is a devastating event for the engineer (or in the case of Metro, the train driver).

        • novasteve

          As I’m sure you are aware, suicidal people are beyond selfish, so they don’t care about how their actions impact others.

          • Rory

            That’s disgusting and insulting.

            Many people who have been under intense psychological pain (the likes of which you could never imagine, believe me) and suicidally desperate have hung on to life in utter in excruciating misery solely because they are thinking of the pain that their death will cause loved ones. Some of them finally succumbed. To call every person who committed suicide beyond selfish and uncaring of how their actions impact others is ignorant and offensive.

          • novasteve

            It is beyond selfish to in the process of ending your life, cause severe emotional harm, probably for life, to the people who were driving the train. If they don’t care in the slightest for the people they harm emotional due to their selfishness, why should I worry about a dead person’s feelings? They are dead, they wanted to die, and they harmed others in the process.

          • Rory

            As usual, you’re reading comprehension needs work.

            You said “Suicidal people are beyond selfish…”. I was responding to that. I am in no way talking about the very small number of suicides who commit suicide by jumping in front of a train. I would agree that their method of suicide is very hurtful to many many people and is ‘selfish’. But, again, I was responding to your characterization of all ‘suicidal people’. Many ‘suicidal people’ don’t even commit suicide.

          • novasteve

            Virtually all suicides cause emotional harm to other people. families, responders, etc. So you don’t want to jump in front of a train to spare the driver agony? Say if nobody finds your body for 2 weeks after you OD on sleeping pills? The police/911 responders have to see your decomposing body. There’s a really high risk of messing with people every suicide, even if the death isn’t that traumatic.

        • NoVA RN

          The train driver would be a witness, yes? I thought it was implied, but he/she was the first one I thought of :\. I couldn’t imagine going back to work after something like that… I hope that Metro has good resources for drivers who have been through something like this :(.

        • Roallin

          One interview i saw with an Amtrak engineer said he doesn’t even hit the breaks anymore when someone jumps on the tracks because he didn’t want to risk injuring any passengers because he knows the train will not stop in time.

        • jan

          yes, this week-end the NYTimes had a front page story regarding the trauma suffered by the train operators.

    • Amber

      This is a common misconception. Suicidal people are opportunistic and impulsive, and many people who attempt and survive never try again. That said, it may not be worth millions in retrofitting to save a handful of lives each year, especially since cheaper things can be done to reduce the risk. I’ve lived in the DC area for 8 years and have seen WMATA and the media get a lot better at handling these cases…it’s very well known that how they are reported plays a big role.

  • Gabby

    Just heard on scanner that the person is DOA. Sad.

  • CrystalMikey

    I feel for the poor driver of the train when these happen.

  • Airwolf

    Maybe this will help our leaders focus on mental healthcare instead of avoiding the issue by looking at other factors – How can we make trains safer? How can we prevent the people from jumping? How about – Help the people!

    • John

      Thank you Airwolf. Well said. THAT is the issue, not “suicide proofing” things. Help the mentally ill!

    • NoVA RN

      Yes. Thank you.

    • Terry

      +1000

  • Che

    Why does the fire department overreact to these types of calls? Maybe one police car and one ambulance can determine that there is no hope and then call in the coroner for a quick removal. (The picture above shows more than 10 emergency vehicles, including a ladder truck. Seriously, a ladder truck?)

    • ArLater

      Ah there it is, the obligatory arm chair quarterback post of ‘you send too many damn emergency vehicles.’

      Gotta love the ArlNow commentators.

      • Terry

        @ArLater I don’t think it’s an unreasonable question.

        Che- I had the same reaction at first but after thinking about it it’s very reasonable to think this type of response was warranted because they weren’t sure what they were going to find on the scene. You never know what you’re going in to.

        There’s also the issue of evacuating the train, the station and making sure no one enters while the investigation wraps up.

        • S,J.

          The world being what it is, they don’t know that the dead person wasn’t carrying cylinders of nerve gas to take a lot of people with him/her. Or a nail bomb. Or a regular bomb.

          • Dude Where’s My Car

            Somebody’s been watching too much “Homeland.”

          • Dude Where’s My Car

            Not to mention the genius it would take to strap something deadly to yourself, knowing it’s going to kill you anyway, and then hurl yourself under a train where it would be less effective. We’re talking Wile E. Coyote, multiple-unintended-consequences levels of stupid here.

          • Wry

            You don’t have to watch TV (not a habit of mine) to know about suicide bombers. You only have to read the news about the Middle East.

      • Che

        Do you have any information to share or just snarky comments from the arm chair?

        • drax

          You are the one with snarky comments.

          If you just had a question, that would be one thing. But you clearly think you already know the answer.

    • CW

      The short answer is that they are following protocol. That said, whether or not the protocol should be amended for these instances where the outcome is a foregone conclusion, well that’s another issue altogether.

    • CrystalMikey

      Umm…how about firefighters are trained in first aid. Or you know, help with crowd control/panic. The possibilities are endless…

    • drax

      My short answer is that Che should go get answers to his questions from the authorities, rather than simply assuming he knows more about it than they do.

    • BluemontRes

      Its not an overreponse. Each one of those units has a special function. If the person is pinned, they will need to lift the train, you may need a water supply just in case a fire starts, you may need extrication equipment. Plus you need man power.

      • Buckingham Beauty

        Indeed. Plus, that manpower may not be solely for the person under the train, but for a trainful of passengers who could have been injured if the driver had to brake hard.

    • Major Pup McPuppo Jr.

      u have no idea about how things work in the world around u, do u?

    • Tame Will

      ’cause it’s boring being a fireman and they can’t wait to get out of the station

  • novasteve

    Since clearly we believe in collective punishment in this country. If one idiot diets from 4loko, we ban 4loko. If someone chokes on bucky balls, we ban then. If there’s a shooting by a mentally ill person, we punish legal gun owners. So why not punish all law abiding metrorail passengers too? How about mandate they be confined to wheelchairs or somehow immobilized so they can’t jump onto the tracks? Don’t see how they could do the platform doors here. That’s a lot of doors they would need, so that would be a massive fare increase. So I guess your fare would have to double because some people are mentally defective. Since we believe in collective punishment, why not do it?

    • drax

      Preventing dangerous things from hurting people isn’t punishment, steve, it’s keeping dangerous things from hurting people.

      • novasteve

        When you pick and choose some dangerous things, and not others, then it becomes problematic when you selectively nanny people.

      • Hollywood

        The problem is not everyone wants this help and the government cannot distinguish who does and who doesn’t. Law-abiding people are the ones who are punished…unless they are David Gregory.

        • drax

          Sure, Hollywood. In some cases, we leave it to the person to decide. In other cases, it’s worth helping those who want it, and if others don’t, too bad. You can deal for the sake of others. And in some cases, people who don’t want help should still get it, because they would probably change their minds if they weren’t dead already. There are cases where the government should save people from their own stupidity. You don’t deserve to die just because you are stupid. I reserve that idea for cases where death or extreme harm would happen, but I do so proudly and without caring what you think about it.

    • Dude Where’s My Car

      Your troll-fu is weak.

    • jackson

      “If one idiot diets from 4loko”

      Ha!

  • Sandy

    When it was reported they didn’t know if the person was alive or not. I’d hope the emergency response teams would respond in full-force and under the assumption that there’s a freaking LIFE to save here. Wow. What the heck kind of world would we live in if we sent someone out to verify if something’s an emergency or not before we responded appropriately?? Are you more concerned about traffic being backed up and your being inconvenienced for 20 minutes than you are someone’s life potentially being saved? Really?? Sometimes I really hate humans.

    • Che

      Interesting comment, but not really responsive. So do you think this type of response should be sent to every call? Automobile accidents do not get 20+ emergency vehicle responses nor do house fires, but a single personal fatality in a metro station gets such a response? It seems a bit odd and all the ranting in the world does not explain why this “protocol” of hyper-reaction is necessary.

      • DCBuff

        How this was reported also may have an influence. I suspect, echoing other posts here, that the protocols in place for such emergencies must consider passengers of the train, e.g., if the train operator hit the brakes hard, passengers may have been injured. Auto accidents potentially involoving dozens of injured person would certainly get a similar response.

      • NoVA RN

        The logistics of an automobile accident are completely different than any emergency response dealing with 6- or 8-car Metro train.

      • J

        Much of the response is because the ACFD uses these responses as training. These types of calls don’t happen that often in Arlington, so they utilize these incidents for training new personnel. You can only learn so much from the books, then you have to have real life training. Plus, this was a rescue that turned to a recovery, so there was hope of a rescue, at least at first.

        • Fireguy

          Another uninformed response. Regional FDs get training at the Metro transit emergency training facility, not using a real crime scene as practice. This was a standard response for a “transportation emergency”. Every unit has a different function and getting someone out from under an 8 car train requires an enormous amount of resources and secondary tasks.

        • Fireman

          False on all levels…..

      • BluemontRes

        Che, you have no idea what you are talking about. A response to even a fire alarm activiation is quite large. An actually house fire will have about the same response you saw at the ballston metro, plus additional units. This is done for safety and because each unit has a specific job function. It is easier to cancel units on scene than it is to keep having to request units because they were not part of the additional response.

  • x-arl

    as noted by airwolf, we need to concentrate on better mental health care. yes it will be costly, but we are paying in other ways by neglecting to focus on mental health issues.
    http://www.nami.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Grading_the_States_2009/Overview1/Overview.htm

  • Tragedy

    Definitely makes you wonder about things. Sure hope it’s not a person I’m thinking about that I wasn’t able to help last year. Depressed about her job situation and losing her subsidized housing. But such a language barrier, that she couldn’t understand basic legal / employer concepts and I kept advising her to get in touch with her kids to call me so I could explain. She always stopped by our house on her way to Ballston to say Hi. Just praying it is not her.

  • Sunshine

    Oh my. I feel so bad for the Metro driver and anyone else who had to witness that. I don’t think I would want to go back to work as a driver. Just give me a long leave of absence and then a Metro desk job someplace.

    • CrystalMikey

      I agree…that poor driver has to now live the rest of his/her life with that image/experience in their head. :(

  • Debs

    I feel sorry for the folks who saw her jump: the train driver and other passengers. It is indeed a selfish way to end your life…but then, I do not believe she was thinking of others…. :(

  • Buckingham Bandit

    Why is there so much outrage and discussion about a person who voluntarily killed herself, when we have pedestrians who are being killed by distracted and runaway drivers (like the female pedestrian the other week on Glebe Rd near Ballston Mall)?

    One person chose to die, another didn’t, yet everyone is up in arms over the former, not the latter.

    Oh yea, I forget, Metro is involved so let’s all snark about it.

    • KalashniKEV

      +1.

      How about the old lady who was killed by the mad cyclist?? We heard all about how very old she was, her nationality, accusations about her mental state…

      Did we see any bike trail speed bumps, bollards, or other safety measures installed? No. Because it doesn’t fit the narrative that we can all be happy peasants on bicycles and not own cars.

      • Major Pup McPuppo Jr.

        agreed, still confused why there are no biking speed bumps on the trails.

        at least fun to jump over for mountain bikers turned urban bikers like myself.

        • Hattie McDaniel

          A wolf on a bike? Did you used to be in the circus?

      • IamUrFodder

        are there auto speed bumps at every intersection where a car killed someone?

      • drax

        There are plenty of safety measures on bike trails already. The death rate on bike trails is very low.

        Meanwhile, you are MUCH more likely to die on the road. Enjoy dying of stress, obesity, pollution or accident instead, Kev, while the peasants are taking responsibility for their health.

      • troll trash trev -

        KKev – you know the “mad Cyclist” turned out to be a 62 year old man on a $200 bike. Yet you still want to make it sound like some Spandex Lance wannabe.

      • Josh S

        As I recall, the guy wasn’t going fast. The fall would not have killed a younger, healthier person – she was old and frail.
        So, I’m not sure what safety measures could be installed to prevent such an accident.

        • KalashniKEV

          It doesn’t matter if it would have made a difference or not… just bring on the BAN!

          (It’s for the children…) ;)

    • FrenchyB

      There wasn’t much discussion of the pedestrian fatality on Glebe because it happened on Christmas Eve, when not many people were online.

  • arlmom

    Is Ballston that depressing? Somebody is always leaping from the Ballston Mall parking garage…and now in front of the Metro.

    • JamesE

      Clarendon was the last metro incident

  • AL

    In Japan, this mode of suicide is very prevalent. And the government sues the suicide victim’s family to recover the funds for cleanup and delay costs. I heard it was somewhere on the order of $50,000!

    • novasteve

      I also think in japan suicide is a bit more culturally accepted, so people killing themselves might be doing so out of honor, not just severe mental illness lik ehere, so threats of suing someone here in the US probably wont’ be very effective.

    • drax

      I don’t think that’s true at all. Please don’t spread rumors without checking.

  • Mandrake

    Metro continues to be far far safer than driving. Overall we are living in one of the safest times in recent history. Don’t let the fearmongers win.

  • Abby Williams

    Another tragedy and another WMATA failing.

    Of course the facts are that if someone wants to take their life, they will find a way, but I think it’s still important to talk about what WMATA could be doing differently in their efforts.
    WMATA has received a quarter of a million dollars to increase their suicide prevention efforts. They created and funded a separate suicide hotline in which they could have outsourced to a local hotline for free which is already funded and use that money to educate their staff and also implement precautions like they have in NYC. Why reinvent the wheel?

    • JamesE

      Wow, blaming this on WMATA?

    • novasteve

      How can metro educate their staff? They could give them all PH.Ds in Psychology, but that won’t stop suicidal people unless you can read minds. What, search bags more often to discourage suicides? How can you know what people are thinking? They wait until the last second. you don’t know they’re going to do it until a train is approaching.

    • Buckingham Beauty

      And just what are these NYC precautions? Would be interesting to hear, seeing as there’s been a rash of subway pushings in NYC. If people can be pushed in front of a train, a suicidal person can still jump in front of one.

    • drax

      So tell us, Abby, EXACTLY what Metro should have done to prevent this.

    • Buckingham Beauty

      And all the suicide hotlines in the world won’t help if a person A) doesn’t want to call, or B) is too mentally ill to realize they are suicidal.

      Oh, and C) The article only says that this woman only “appears to have intentionally placed herself in the path” of the train. Authorities apparently have not declared that this was even definitely a suicide.

      Metro has its problems, but don’t go blaming it for something that is not its problem.

  • LisaL

    I second JamesE. How can you blame WMATA for this? I thought they handled the situation well and implemented the shuttle buses in a quick manner. Emergency services were called right away. No, I don’t think WMATA is to blame for this unforeseeable and tragic situation.

    • novasteve

      Nobody is blaming them for the suicide. But given how common these are, it shouldn’t take multiple hours to get back to nornmal, and these suicides will only increase in number in the future. They have CCTV. Once it’s shown clearly to not have been a crime, then just open up for business after you remove the body.

      • drax

        Yeah, Abby is.

      • Buckingham Beauty

        But since it wasn’t clear if this was definitely a suicide, at least at the time ARL put out this article, then I’ll bet these several hours were all necessary for the M.E. to do her work, for the body to then be removed, and then to do cleanup (cf. http://www.wmata.com/about_metro/news/PressReleaseDetail.cfm?ReleaseID=5401). Doesn’t sound like Metro’s fault there.

        • novasteve

          Look at the CCTV. If nobody pushed her, and it doesn’t look like she slipped, then it’s a suicide, case closed.I highly doubt you’re going to get some kind of duress situation on the metro.

          • Buckingham Beauty

            Unless this CCTV available somewhere for the public to view, then we can only specualate. Perhaps what was visible on CCTV wasn’t clear? Granted, this was Ballston in the middle of non-rush, but perhaps one or more people were standing in the way of a clear view?

  • LisaL

    I don’t know why I’m defending WMATA, but it’s probably the police investigation into the crime scene that kept them from opening up the station(s) not WMATA. When there’s a major car accident, the scene is always closed for hours so them to do a thorough examination of the scene. Just saying…

    • drax

      You’re defending WMATA because they are deserve to be defended in this case.

  • Delayed by suicide

    I was late to my destination because an inconsiderate and self-destructive person decided to enter the next world by disrupting a public transit system, potentially causing a loss of life and limb to others. If there is a judgement day, this method of making a transition should count.

    • Not Me

      Well, you don’t have to worry about it happening again. I think they learned their lesson.

    • drax

      I’m sure the deceased family feels sorry for you.

  • What?

    She’s cold now.

  • SoArl

    AtI was on one of the first trains to be let off at Ballston this afternoon. It smelled so strongly of chlorine and I got to see the large wet spot that was left after the clean-up. It was really disturbing, especially because the spot was almost exactly where I stand every morning to get on the train. It was heartbreaking to think some poor woman died there. I’m not really an emotional person but that was an icky thing to see…

  • OrangeCrushRefugee

    It’s of course not WMATA’s fault that this happened. However, the commonalities with all WMATA responses to unexpected events was what was grating. I was in the station minutes after this happened. It was chaos. The first responders and Metro did nothing to inform passengers on the platforms (or on the train that hit the woman – coincidentally I knew someone on that train as well) of what was happening, what we should do, what we should expect. We just walked around asking each other what was going on, and this went on for a long time. It had everything in common with every other unexpected event on Metro when no information is ever provided and passengers have no ability to make an informed decision about what to do next. Finally, someone from WMATA bellowed out that the station was being closed and we had to evacuate – this was almost 15 minutes after I entered the station. I walked out through an open turnstile – no word on whether I’ll be charged my fare. I did indeed miss my appointment in DC and I’m telling myself for the 20th time that I’ll never again take Metro if at all possible, but somehow I always forget and try again.

    • drax

      You should have driven a car. Never an accident to back you up, and plenty of information about what is happening on the rare occasion of a delay. ;)

    • YTK

      Metro is a mismanaged waste of taxpayer (and county) money.

    • anonymouse

      Do you really care if you were charged a fee, even though you had to leave the station? And who cares if you were late to your appointment? In the grand scheme of things, someone DIED and your measly pocket change and appointment don’t matter.

      Sheesh – get some perspective and stop being so self-absorbed. And please do stop taking Metro. We need less of your kind on the trains.

  • Nostradamus

    I predict that this story will make the list of Top Arlington Stories in 2013.

    • Trev

      I got robbed

  • ScotusshouldBPotus

    Chlorine reminds me of pools, people drown in pools, drowning happens voluntarily or involuntarily. This was just the same as drowning yourself. Stop ruining rush hour traffic b/c you can’t just take a bottle of sleeping pills…a much less intrusive method of ridding this world of yourself and less burden on us tax payers.

  • southArl

    I’m so curious to know who pays some of you people to comment all damn day on this blog…. hopefully our tax dollars aren’t being wasted on your pay.

    • northArl

      Well good for you. You do know what curiosity did to the cat, right?

  • Concerned Citizen

    It’s comments like many of these that remind me why I don’t read off-topic forums and rarely read comments on the internet.

    I feel sick to my stomach that people have this reaction.

    • Mary-Austin

      Agreed…it’s pretty disturbing.

    • obvious caption

      And yet here you are!

  • Ballston Dude

    Horrible. Will never understand how one could do this. My heart goes out to the individual who felt so hopeless to do this to herself, family and friends. Just wished she would have turned to someone for help. Peace to her.

    • Skeptic

      Maybe she had a painful, incurable and costly disease. Her family, friends and heirs may be thankful.

    • bman

      If you had any experience with people with mental health issues, you can understand how someone could do this.

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