DUPONT, WASHINGTON (December 21, 2017) – Benjamin Gran was identified as the third person killed in a train derailment in Washington State on December 18th, according to an article by NBC. (map)
Amtrak 501 left the station on Monday morning, going on its inaugural ride as part of a faster service between Seattle and Portland. The train, traveling at 80 MPH, approached a curve that was intended to be taken at no more than 30 MPH. The passenger train entered the curve at the same speed, and 13 rail cars derailed, some falling off an overpass and down onto the southbound lanes of the 5 Freeway.
Three people were killed as a result of the accident, including 40 year old Benjamin Gran. Also killed was 61 year old Jim Hamre, and his friend 35 year old Zack Willhoite. There were also dozens injured in the accident, which left the southbound lanes of Interstate 5 blocked for days and also injured motorists on the ground.
Benjamin is survived by his mother, Linda Daniels. Linda released a statement saying her son had just turned his life around and had severe autism. Linda also stated that her son was “Amtrak’s biggest fan”.
Seventeen people are still in serious condition as a result of the accident, with a total of 36 still hospitalized. The initial investigation has determined that the train applied the brakes automatically, but too late to stop the derailment. A Positive Train Control system, technology designed to automatically stop a train before a derailment can happen, was installed but not operational on the track at the time of the accident.
This is the second mass casualty incident for Amtrak in the last few years. In 2015 a train derailed in Philadelphia, killing eight people and injuring over 200. That derailment was caused by the same issue as Monday’s accident… excessive speed going into a curve. In the 2015 accident, the train was traveling at 102 mph in a 50 mph zone.
The investigation into Monday’s accident is only just beginning. Investigators are retrieving video footage from outside and inside the train, as well as data recorded before and during the accident. The NTSB is handling the investigation at this time, and updates are still being released at this time. Lexton Law will continue to update this article as more information is released.
“Sadly, there are no words that can comfort all family members and friends as they cope with such tragic loss,” said the attorneys from Lexton Law. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all parties affected in this tragedy as they try to piece together what happened.”