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Amtrak Train Hits 2 Men in Md., Killing 1

By Martin Weil
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 2, 2005; Page B02

One man was killed and another critically injured yesterday evening when they were struck by an Amtrak passenger train just south of Rockville.

Less than a month ago, a man was struck and killed in Kensington by the same Chicago-bound train.

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Montgomery County police identified the dead man as Raymond C. Whitley, 25, of the 11600 block of Nebel Street in Rockville. Critically injured was Keon Kelly, 23, of the same block.

The men were struck near the Montrose Crossing shopping center, about a quarter-mile west of the vehicular crossing at Randolph Road and Nebel Street, according to Derek Baliles, a county police spokesman.

In the late 1990s, four people were struck and killed by trains in the same area in three separate incidents.

Authorities ruled three of those deaths to be suicides, but police said they had not determined why the two men hit yesterday were on the tracks, just east of Rockville Pike. However, they said there was no indication of a suicide attempt.

Like this year's Feb. 5 incident, which occurred a few miles south and east, yesterday's involved Amtrak's Capitol Limited, which was scheduled to leave Union Station at 5:20 p.m. and arrive in Chicago at 10:19 a.m. today. The train was carrying about 120 passengers and was held at the scene while the incident was investigated, Amtrak spokeswoman Sarah Swain said.

Also halted were four westbound trains on MARC's Brunswick Line.

A spokesman for the commuter line said MARC passengers were encouraged to take Metro's Red Line to Shady Grove, where buses would transport them the rest of the way.

About 2,500 passengers use the Brunswick Line daily to travel to and from Washington. Five westbound trains had departed in time to avoid the delay, said MARC spokesman Richard Scher.

It was not clear how fast the Amtrak train, No. 29, was traveling.

A spokesman for CSX Transportation, which owns the tracks, said authorized speed in the vicinity is 79 mph. Scher said MARC trains average 70 mph there.

Pete Piringer, a spokesman for the county's Fire and Rescue Service, said the Amtrak train halted near Twinbrook Road, about a quarter-mile west of where the men were struck.

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