Metro Train Avoids Hitting Man on Track at Ballston Station

by ARLnow.com March 4, 2013 at 10:45 pm 3,153 26 Comments

Metro logo(Updated at 11:15 p.m.) A Metro train operator had to use an emergency brake to avoid hitting a man on the track at Ballston station tonight.

The incident happened around 9:45 p.m. A 44-year-old man “intentionally placed himself on the track” in an apparent suicide attempt, according to Metro spokesman Dan Stessel.

“The train operator applied the emergency brake and was able to stop prior to any significant injury,” Stessel continued. “The male has lacerations to his hands and will be transported for evaluation. We are single tracking around the incident with about 10 minute delays.”

This is the third such incident since Friday. This past weekend, Metro train operators managed to avoid hitting two people who tried to commit suicide at Metro stations.

  • Ian

    Is it that depressing to live in the DC area?

    • kate


    • Lila

      Life, anywhere, can be tough for people! Suicide rates are much higher in other cities/states and even other countries.

    • Steph

      I used to live in DC, but now I live just outside of The District in VA. Much quieter, less nervous energy.
      But people see Metro as a quick easy way to get out of life. What they don’t realize is that it isn’t that quick at all and certainly not easy. We hear of so many people getting trapped under the train, sometimes for extended periods of time – while still alive.
      Depressing? Not really, you just have to know where not to look.

    • drax


    • SHLady

      The suicide rate in DC is actually one of the lowest in the nation.

  • Mike

    The train operators are the only people in the entire Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority that should be given a raise.

    • Tabs


    • Steph

      I was thinking the same thing! Those guys (and ladies) go through a lot – and I think they do it really well.

    • SomeGuy

      Bus drivers have it way tougher. They actually have to interact with some of the disrespectful human trash that rides their vehicles.

    • ARL

      But they are gub’mint employees, so they’re already way overpaid. Rush sez.

      • David

        Which is largely true. Compare the salary, benefits, pension, etc. of a WMATA bus driver to that of a private bus driver. No for-profit enterprise would ever pay them that level…or tolerate some of the things that occur on Metrobusses. If WMATA could actually terminate at will without the Union interfering, maybe the salaries would be more justified because the crappy drivers would be unemployed.

        • Guest

          Yes, we should all look to the stellar track record of the private sector for guidance on labor practices and fair compensation….

  • tumblebum

    Good for the operator. It is tough on them when someone decides to include them in their suicide plans.

  • leslie

    Or maybe some of these “suicides” are people being pushed onto the tracks, either intentionally or not?

    • novasteve

      They would use a different verb such as “pushed” rather than “placed themselves in the path of the train”

  • SomeGuy

    It’s unfortunate when someone chooses to kill himself. It’s even more unfortunate when he tries to include and inconvenience others in his attempt. At least he didn’t choose rush hour though.

  • novasteve

    Again someone very recently said that these events were incredibly rare, so why do they happen so often then? There were two suicide attempts in DC this weekend on the metro too.

    • drax

      Someone said they were rare, and then someone else corrected that.

      • NoVA RN

        Someone said to me that it only happened twice in their 20 years of living here. I’m not sure what train he’s riding, but I’d love to join him. He was corrected by several of us.

  • YoMama

    I’d have hit the gas!

    • MarkDC

      the trains are electric

  • Justin L

    Anyone caught doing this should be put away for life so we don’t risk having a major disruption to Metro service like last year. If they’re successful, then their families should get the bill for the clean up.

    • bethdina

      very callous way of treating those that are mentally ill. Grow a heart and a soul and imagine if this is one of your family.

  • Glad he could stop in time. The trains are coming into the statios alot slower now, too. I saw the (newly placed?) sign about calling the Suicide Prevention Hotline at my Metro Station this morning — great idea– needs to be in Spanish too.

  • Matt

    The other day I was standing on the platform at L’Enfant waiting for my train home and about half way down the platform (I was at the front of the platform) the train stops. The operator flashes the headlights, honks several times, then I barely hear some garbled announcement from the train speaker. Someone says to me “You know they probably think you’re going to jump, you’re a little close to the edge” … I guess I stand kinda close to the edge all the time when it’s really crowded, I’ve been riding transit for a long time now, so it didn’t occur to me. Kudos to the operator for being that attentive, I suppose, though I certainly have no plans to jump in front of a train any time soon – ouch!


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