Update: Man loses legs in Saturday night train accident in Prosser

September 1, 2013 

— A man lost his legs Saturday night when he was hit by an empty grain train in Prosser.

The man’s name and the town where he lives were not released Sunday. Authorities said he is 59.

The train crew saw a man on the BNSF Railway Co. track at 9:17 p.m. and sounded the whistle and applied the emergency brake, said spokesman Gus Melonas.

The train hit the man, causing him to lose both legs, Melonas told the Herald.

Prosser police and firefighters were called to the scene near Bennett Avenue and Eighth Street, according to a news release from Prosser police Sgt. Ed Blackburn.

The accident happened at a noncrossing area, Melonas said.

The man was treated at the scene, then taken to PMH Medical Center in Prosser.

It was not clear Sunday if he was still in Prosser or had been taken to another regional hospital. Blackburn did not return a call seeking updated information.

The train reportedly originated in Kalama and was headed to Pasco before moving on to Shelby, Mont. It was delayed for three hours.

Prosser police are assisting BNSF investigators, which has primary investigative responsibility for the incident.

Melonas said the agency is continuing to look into the Prosser situation, along with a similar accident that happened 11 minutes earlier Saturday on the Washington border with Idaho.

At 9:06 p.m., a coal train hit a woman on the track, also at a noncrossing area, about 20 miles east of Spokane near Hauser, Idaho. The woman, who was in her 40s, died.

Melonas said the BNSF crew in that incident also sounded the whistle and applied the emergency brake. The train was traveling from Montana to Centralia and also had a three-hour delay after the accident.

“We encourage the public to be aware that trains can move on any track in any direction at any time, and to please be aware of the danger at all time,” Melonas said.

w Kristin M. Kraemer: 582-1531; kkraemer@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @KristinMKraemer

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