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March 23, 2023

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Former policeman’s death on train tracks ruled a suicide

Washougal man was fired in 2013 from Portland Police Bureau

By , Columbian Small Cities Reporter

Investigators confirmed Tuesday afternoon that the death of a former Portland police officer on the railroad tracks in Washougal on Monday morning was a suicide.

BNSF Railway crew members traveling from Camas to Washougal found the body of Dane Reister, a 43-year-old Washougal resident, at about 10:30 a.m. on the south side of the tracks near Sixth Street. Investigators and BNSF workers said it appeared Reister had been hit by a different train that passed through the area earlier in the day.

An autopsy conducted by the Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed their suspicion. According to the report, Reister died from multiple blunt force injuries and his death was a suicide.

Dozens of trains pass through Washougal on the BNSF tracks each day. Crew members that found Reister’s body were on a train with one locomotive and three freight cars.

Police found Reister’s unoccupied truck parked in a lot about 100 yards away from the tracks.

Fired in 2013

Reister was fired from the Portland Police Bureau in 2013 after critically injuring a man with live rounds from a shotgun nearly two years earlier. Reister told other officers he thought the gun was loaded with beanbag rounds, which are less lethal.

Consequently, he was facing assault charges from the incident.

He pleaded not guilty to third- and fourth-degree assault charges. Two years ago, the city of Portland paid a record $2.3 million settlement to end a lawsuit by the man Reister shot.

At this point, police do not believe anyone witnessed the suicide. Investigators are encouraging anyone with more information about Reister’s death to contact Washougal Detective Kate Tierney at 360-835-8701.

Columbian Small Cities Reporter