A pedestrian was injured today after being hit by a light rail vehicle near the Indian School and Central light rail station. Early reports say the man suffered an apparent head injury after being pushed up to 40 feet up the tracks. A spokesman from the Phoenix fire department said the man spoke to paramedics and has been taken to a trauma center for evaluation.
A later report from abc15 mentioned that a man fell to the ground and was pushed by the train “more than 20 yards.” Phoenix Fire Department spokesman Jonathan Jacobs said the man “the man suffered internal injuries and seemed to have an altered level of consciousness.”
Traffic was effected in the entire area and METRO shut down the light rail station while running in just one direction on Central as the situation was being evaluated. Riders were warned of delays shortly after the accident but details of the accident remained scarce until just about every media outlet in Arizona descended upon the area.
At this time, we are not sure what caused the man to fall on the tracks or why he was pushed so far down the line. We sincerely hope that the man is going to be ok.
As more news becomes available we will try to add links to the stories here.
*update:* according to the East Valley Tribune, the man “reportedly ran across Central Avenue against the signal trying to get to the platform in time to get on the train when he was struck.”
KPHO reports that the man is 56 years old, crossed Central against the signal to try and catch the train.
From what I can recall, this is the first major accident involving a pedestrian although vehicle accidents involving light rail cars seemed to be in the news quite often during METRO’s first year of operations. During a recent announcement for the new METRO safety campaign, we learned that they were experiencing a 56% decrease in collisions for 2010 versus this same time last year. In 2009, there were 52 collisions ( 43 through September ) and 19, thus far, in 2010. The fact that people are more aware of the trains is said to be one reason for the drop in collisions.