August 19, 2013

Amtrak Downeaster strikes man in Scarborough

He suffered life-threatening injuries, authorities say, and reportedly ran across the tracks before being hit.

By Beth Quimby
Staff Writer

SCARBOROUGH - A man was seriously injured Sunday morning when he was struck by the Amtrak Downeaster train at Highland Avenue and Black Point Road, authorities said.

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Police and fire personnel investigate the scene after the Amtrak Downeaster train hit a man at Highland Avenue and Black Point Road in Scarborough on Sunday.

Jill Brady/Staff Photographer

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The condition and identity of the man remained unknown late Sunday night. Earlier in the day officials said they did not know where he lives and that he may be homeless.

Authorities described the man's injuries as life-threatening. He was being treated at Maine Medical Center in Portland.

Following the accident, the man was alert and conscious and able to identify himself to emergency medical technicians and police, said Scarborough police Officer Scott Vaughan.

The accident happened a couple of hundred yards north of a railroad track overpass on busy Black Point Road, which is Route 207, at about 8:15 a.m. as the train was heading south toward the Old Orchard Beach station.

Scarborough police Sgt. Rick Rouse said the engineer reported seeing the man running across the tracks in front of the train before he was hit.

Rouse said there were three or four other witnesses, possibly accompanying the man who was injured, but they left the scene before they could be questioned.

Police used a dog to try to track down the witnesses but called off the search by late morning.

A freight train had been parked beside the main track at the accident scene since about 3 a.m., Scarborough police said.

The commuter train was delayed by about 90 minutes. There were no signs that the engineer, the sole operator of the train, was impaired in any way, said Rouse. The engineer continued to operate the train, which was headed to Boston.

The Boston and Maine Railroad Police, the police department for railroad owner Pan Am Railways, is leading the investigation.

Robert Murphy, an investigator for the Boston and Maine Railroad Police on the scene Sunday morning, said it was too soon to determine how fast the train was moving.

Murphy said it would take several days to determine how the accident occurred.

Attempts Sunday night to reach the railroad police were unsuccessful.

Patricia Quinn, executive director of the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority, which holds the contract with Amtrak to operate the Downeaster service between Maine and Boston, said the speed limit along the section of track where the accident took place is 60 mph.

Quinn called pedestrian accidents on railroad tracks a national problem.

"Someone was trespassing on the tracks and walked in front of a moving train. Unfortunately it does happen periodically, sometimes on purpose, sometimes not," Quinn said.

Earlier in the day, investigators said the man's identity would not be released by officials until his next of kin can be notified.

– Staff Writer Dennis Hoey contributed to this report.

Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at:

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