Finley teen dies in apparent train accident

By Drew Foster, Herald staff writerDecember 17, 2009 

FINLEY -- A 19-year-old Finley man died Wednesday after he apparently was hit by a train in Finley.

The Benton County Sheriff's Office identified the victim Wednesday night as Tyler Bies. He was a 2008 graduate of River View High School.

Benton County Sheriff's Sgt. Rich Welch said a passer-by called to report seeing a body in a gulch near Cochran Road at about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The victim was hit at 7:50 a.m. by a freight train traveling from Portland, BNSF Railway Co. spokesman Gus Melonas told the Associated Press.

Melonas said the man was struck 120 feet from the nearest crossing, and that it was the 15th death in Washington this year of someone on BNSF tracks.

The victim's body was in the ditch for more than three hours Wednesday morning before being covered and taken away by authorities.

The scene was cordoned with yellow police tape as sheriff's deputies and members of the Kennewick Police Department scoured the railroad tracks and ditch, placing several evidence markers between the body and suspected point of impact.

Welch said it appeared Bies had been walking beside or in the middle of the tracks before he was struck by an eastbound train.

A blood-stained path marked his fall from the tracks into the gulch.

"It appears he's been struck by a train," Welch said Wednesday morning. "Is that absolute? Not yet."

Welch said the death likely will be classified as accidental.

-- Drew Foster: 509-585-7207; dfoster@tricityherald.com

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