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Man survives being hit by MAX train in Gresham

Talk about a close call.

Parkrose resident Ian Sutherland, 29, was heading to work in Gresham at about 8:10 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, when he got wrapped up in the autopilot of his routine.

Get off MAX train at Northeast 181st Ave. and East Burnside Road. Walk across Burnside. Go to work.

Only one small detail got in the way: his headphones.

Sutherland posted a first-hand narrative aptly titled "I just got hit by the MAX and lived to tell the tale"

on Reddit shortly after the incident.

"Never. Never ... ever. Wear headphones while crossing a MAX intersection," he posted. "I almost lost my life today out of complacence."

After getting off the train, he mounted his bike and went to cross the intersection. "I had my headphones in like a dumba*$ and went to cross the intersection before my train had left," he wrote.

By the time he noticed the westbound oncoming train, "it was about 20 feet away, and my body was dead in the center of the tracks. I turned a sharp left, because I knew I couldn't push past it in time. My front wheel got caught in the track. I unclipped from my pedal, put my foot down, and pushed myself and the bike about six inches back."

It was just enough to save his neck, but not his rear end.

"At that moment, the left front corner of the train hit my a#%, shoulder and back wheel," Sutherland wrote. "It threw me from the crosswalk to the center of the intersection. I landed on my a@!, which is rather sore. But I am fine."

The impact blew open the back of his shorts, which Sutherland described as hanging in tatters.

Sutherland landed in the intersection, rolled to a stop and stood up. His instinct was to get away from the train, so he grabbed his bike and hobbled away. Then he voiced dismay that his bike had been damaged.

TriMet employee Maryellen "Molly" Gisi, who happened to be on the platform and saw the whole thing unfold, rushed over.

"Sweet pea, you just got hit by a train and you're OK," she said, taking his mind off his damaged bike.

Paramedics check him out. Other than a scuffed shin, some soreness and a few rattled nerves, he's alright.

As for the song he was listening to when he nearly met his maker? He doesn't remember.

He does remember seeing the face of the train operator Rick Shaffer, a Sandy resident. "He was just as white as a sheet," Sutherland said. "You could tell it hit him pretty hard. But there was nothing he could have done. I was just really lucky that I moved as fast as I did. I was very, very lucky."



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