How the man came to be on the MAX tracks is still unclear, but the outcome was predictably tragic

DAVID F. ASHTON - A police Forensics Division criminalist photographs the front of the MAX train that reported spotting a dead man at the tracks near the McLoughlin-S.E. 17th intersection, and then remained stopped there for hours during the investigation. A man died on the TriMet MAX Orange Line Light Rail tracks at McLoughlin Boulevard and S.E. 17th in the predawn darkness, early Friday, December 1; but just how he died, and who he was, have still not been publicly disclosed.

At 6:11 a.m. that morning, emergency first-responders responded to the location, including Central Precinct officers, when 9-1-1 dispatchers received a call from a MAX train operator reporting having seen a person near the tracks who appeared to be deceased.

The ensuing investigation closed the right-turn lane of northbound McLoughlin Boulevard at the intersection for several hours – which significantly backed up rush-hour traffic down through the City of Milwaukie – and stopped northbound traffic on 17th Avenue at the McLoughlin intersection.

During the investigation, the front end of a southbound MAX train remained stopped about 10 feet north of the 18th Avenue dead-end on the north side of McLoughlin. The track crossing signal at 17th sounded continuously and the crossing arm remained down for hours, even though the rear of the train was almost clear of S.E. 17th Avenue.

The PPB Traffic Division Major Crash Team was investigating the incident; and a Forensics Evidence Division criminalist was at the scene, photographing the stopped train.

"This incident remains under investigation; however, preliminary information indicates that the person killed was lying on the tracks prior to being struck by a MAX train," reported PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson. "A second MAX train operator came upon the deceased, and called 9-1-1.

"Investigators are continuing to gather information to determine how the person came to be lying on the tracks, including whether or not it was an intentional act," Simpson said; adding that the incident is still under investigation. At deadline, TriMet hadn't responded to our request for information.

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