GAITHERSBURG, MD. (Sept. 7, 2014) Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Department- Major Crimes Division are investigating the death of a male who was struck by a CSX freight train in Gaithersburg this evening. At this time, detectives believe that there is no foul play involved in this death.
At approximately 7:31 p.m., the Emergency Communications Center (9-1-1) received a call from CSX concerning a person possibly struck by a CSX train on the tracks just past Oakmont Avenue in Gaithersburg. Officers responded to the scene and located a deceased male.
Investigation has determined that the train engineer observed the male victim on the train tracks. The engineer applied the train brakes and sounded the horn multiple times before the train struck the victim.
The Major Crimes Division continues to investigate this incident. The victim’s identity will be released after his family is notified of his death.
The Federal Railroad Administration reports that there are an estimated 300 to 500 suicides each year due to persons lying on tracks and inviting decapitation or walking into the path of a train. This method of suicide has a ninety percent death rate while jumping in front of subway trains in New York is only successful in fifty-nine percent of cases. Transit systems have experimented with placing gates along station platforms, but the cost is prohibitive. There is no way to fence railroad tracks, thus those who have decided to end their lives by jumping in front of or laying down in front of trains will continue to add to the national statistics.
Not only is there the impact that suicide by train has on the family of the dead, but the locomotive engineer can suffer from PTSD especially in cases where the engineer made direct eye contact with the person who decided to end their life.
Detecting depression can be complicated and those who may need help can best be assisted by family and friends. In some metro areas, “ambassadors” who are retired transit and train employees are hired to rove the stations looking for those who appear to be on the edge of jumping in front of a train and in some cases, have save the lives of those who laid down on the tracks.