No foul play found in death of William and Mary law student hit by Metro train

By Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Metro said Tuesday that a preliminary police investigation indicated the law student struck and killed by a train at Minnesota Avenue Station on July 4 fell onto the tracks and that no foul play was involved.

"The man likely fell accidentally onto the tracks and was not there intentionally," Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said in a statement. She said the investigation was ongoing but that initial findings indicate "there was no foul play."

Joseph Doyle, 28, a rising third-year student at William and Mary law school in Williamsburg, was hit by a train just before

3 a.m., apparently "as he was in the process of switching from one train line to another," according to a letter to the school community from Virginia M. Ambler, the college's vice president for student affairs.

After Doyle was struck by the Orange Line train headed to New Carrollton, Metro initially reported that "his injuries were not believed to be life-threatening."

But D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services, who responded to a call about 3:15 a.m., found Doyle trapped under the midway point of a train, requiring an extremely technical rescue. He was transported to an area trauma center in "grave condition," said D.C. Fire and EMS spokesman Pete Piringer. Metro announced at about 11:30 a.m. Sunday that Doyle had died.

Teachers and associates of Doyle, a native of Oklahoma, said he was a bright and enthusiastic young man who planned to intern at a law firm this summer and then travel to Spain on an exchange program.

"I taught him in class. . . . He was a great student," said Joe Sandler of the law firm Sandler, Reiff & Young, who was an adjunct professor at the school last spring. "He was cheerful, well-adjusted, had a job, had a future," said Sandler. Doyle was to have begun an internship at the firm on Aug. 3.

"He was absolutely lovely," said Liz Howard, an attorney at the firm, who was in e-mail contact with Doyle about the internship. "He always had a can-do spirit and was willing to help."

Doyle's family could not be reached immediately for comment.

Doyle graduated as an English language and literature major in 2004 from the University of Virginia, where he was on the dean's list and was active in debate and the Model United Nations, Ambler said.

At William and Mary, he was a member of the William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal.

Davison Douglas, dean of the law school, said in an interview that Doyle "was a truly outstanding student who had a wonderful future in front of him. . . . It's just really a tragedy." He said fellow students had expressed shock.

"He had a particular interest in election law -- he served as Vice President of the Law School's Election Law Society, worked for the Virginia State Board of Elections after his first year of law school, and had been a field organizer for Brad Carson's U.S. Senate campaign in Oklahoma in 2004," Douglas said in a letter.

"He was beloved by his friends and colleagues at William and Mary. The entire Law School community mourns his death."

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