Rockville man hit by train was blind, Metro says

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Rockville man who fell to the tracks and was struck by a Red Line train early Sunday morning is blind and apparently lost his footing on the edge of the platform, Metro officials said Monday.

The 48-year-old man remained in critical condition at a hospital, and Metro Transit Police have not been able to speak with him, agency spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said.

The man, whose name is being withheld for privacy reasons, fell from the platform edge at the Gallery Place-Chinatown Station at 7:30 a.m. The train was headed toward Shady Grove.

Farbstein said his impairment apparently contributed to his fall, according to witnesses and a video. Gallery Place-Chinatown, like other busy stations in the Metro system, has a 24-inch wide strip of bumpy glazed tiles along the granite to provide a tactile warning to blind riders that they are nearing the platform edge. It was unclear whether the passenger tried to heed the warning.

The man did not have a Seeing Eye dog with him, Farbstein said, and it was not clear whether he had a walking stick.

-- Lisa Rein

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