Woman killed when struck by Amtrak train in Woodland

By Patty Hastings, Columbian breaking news reporter

Published:

Updated: June 28, 2012, 12:48 PM

 

A woman was killed Wednesday night when she was struck by a southbound Amtrak train near the railroad bridge over the Lewis River in Woodland.

Amanda Duarte, 24, and a man were walking onto the south side of the bridge at 8:20 p.m. even though no-trespassing signs around the bridge warn of high-speed trains.

The bridge near Lancaster Road has a long history of fatalities, according to Battalion Chief Tim Dawdy of Clark County Fire & Rescue.

“It’s dangerous and people need to stay off of it,” Dawdy said. “Clark County Fire and Rescue urges people to stay off railway tracks.”

The bridge is about 50 feet above the river. The man may have jumped into the water to escape being struck by the train, Dawdy said. His whereabouts were not known at The Columbian’s press time. Although the train crew is taught to blow the horn and put the train into emergency stop mode if pedestrians cannot get out of its path, the train was not able to stop in time.

“They are competent people,” Dawdy said of the train crew, “but they can’t compensate for people trespassing on the tracks.”

Dawdy said that like traffic on the highway, it can be hard to gauge just how fast these high-speed trains are going. When Amtrak trains are traveling at their top allowed speed, 79 mph, they need 6,000 feet or a little over one mile to stop, according to sources.

Trains using these tracks were stopped for a while and expected to resume travel around 11 p.m.