May 27, 2018
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No identification released for person hit and killed by Downeaster in Biddeford

Jeff Lagasse | Journal Tribune
Jeff Lagasse | Journal Tribune
Police and rescue personnel respond to a fatal accident on the Amtrak tracks off Main Street in Biddeford on Monday.
By Seth Koenig, BDN Staff

BIDDEFORD, Maine — Authorities have yet to release the name of the individual hit and killed by a southbound Amtrak Downeaster train Monday afternoon in Biddeford.

“We do not have an identity of the trespasser” to report, Amtrak spokesman Cliff Cole told the Bangor Daily News in a voice message on Tuesday, adding that authorities do not have a timetable for releasing the individual’s name.

In a follow-up email, Cole declined to say whether investigators are still working to determine the identity of the person fatally injured in the accident, or whether they are withholding the name while they seek to notify the individual’s family members, a common delay in the reporting practices of law enforcement agencies.

Cole wrote that “our investigation is continuing and we do not have any additional information other than the basic facts released” Monday.

The Biddeford Police Department on Tuesday referred questions about the accident to Amtrak.

The 686 train, which left Portland heading south at 2:35 p.m. Monday, hit a pedestrian trespassing on the tracks about 400 feet west of Main Street in Biddeford at around 3 p.m., Pan Am Railways Executive Vice President Cynthia Scarano told the Bangor Daily News. Pan Am Railways owns the railroad the Downeaster travels on.

Jazmine Stammel, 13, told the Journal Tribune she witnessed the accident while riding her sister’s scooter.

“I heard the whistles and then I saw a beige blur,” Stammel, who lives five houses from the railroad tracks, told the Biddeford-based newspaper. “I was curious and I was circling, and then I saw a leg. I was completely confused.”

The incident caused the southbound train to be delayed by more than two hours as police investigated the scene and a new crew was brought in to operate the Downeaster during the remainder of its run to Boston.

Patricia Quinn, executive director of the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority, the public transportation agency that oversees the Downeaster, said it is standard policy to replace the crew after a fatal accident because the event is traumatic. Quinn said Monday that 61 passengers were onboard the Downeaster at the time, and nobody on the train was hurt in the incident.

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