Transit police were using fingerprints yesterday to identify a Metro rider who was killed Friday night after his leg became lodged between a moving train and the platform at the Silver Spring station.
No wallet was found at the scene of the accident on the Red Line about 9:40 p.m. "We didn't recover any items on the man that made identification immediately possible," said Donna Aggazio, a spokeswoman for Metro.
The driver of the train, whom Metro would not identify, was placed on immediate suspension while officials awaited the results of drug and alcohol testing--which is standard procedure in such accidents.
The train operator was apparently unaware of the incident at the time and kept driving, continuing through six more stations, Aggazio said. He was stopped at the seventh station, Gallery Place/Chinatown, and told what had happened.
None of the passengers aboard the train is believed to have witnessed the man's death, said Ray Feldmann, another Metro spokesperson.
Two witnesses at the Silver Spring station told Metro police the accident happened after a Metro rider raced up an escalator to get to an above-ground train. He pushed the witnesses aside in his rush, the witnesses told police.
By the time he reached the train, the doors had closed. His leg apparently got caught in the narrow space between the train and the platform, according to details pieced together by transit police. The man was dragged 100 feet by the train before he fell to the tracks. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
As a safety measure, Metro train operators are required to look out their windows to make sure no one is trying to board the train before they leave the station. Metro was investigating yesterday whether Friday's Red Line driver followed that practice, Feldmann said.
As detectives tried to learn the victim's identity through fingerprinting, Metro officials could not say whether the accident pointed to potential safety problems.
Metro riders commonly thrust their shoulders and briefcases into closing train doors in efforts to get the doors to reopen. It was unclear whether the rider who was killed was trying to jam his foot into a closing door when it became stuck.
"We don't know if that's what happened," Feldmann said. He said officials had not heard of another case like it. "It is very unusual," he said.