Out of Control Policy Blog

New crash in Houston

In just a few months Houston's light rail has collided with 25 cars. Now the first pedestrian collision:

A 59-year-old janitor missing a hearing aid darted into a MetroRail train Wednesday at Reliant Park, then the ambulance carrying him to the hospital was hit by a car one minute into the trip, injuring four more people.

Donnie Hall, who works for a temporary agency cleaning Reliant Stadium, was on his way home when he walked in front of the southbound train approaching the Reliant Park Station platform about 4 p.m., said Metropolitan Transit Authority spokesman Ken Connaughton.

Hall had apparently seen a northbound train at the station and hurried to get on board for his trip to his residence in the 3900 block of Main.

"He normally wears hearing aids in both ears, but three months ago he lost the one in his left ear," Connaughton said. "He heard the train (approaching from the left) but because he was hearing it in his right ear he didn't think he was in imminent danger."

The report makes it sound like Hall was not seriously injured.

Sure all these crashes are pretty bizarre, but eventually motorists, pedestrians and trains will learn to avoid each other (city officials are quick to point out that the train-auto collisions generally occur after motorists make illegal turns). When this rather sensational issue passes, Houstonians will have to focus on the usual light rail issues–like if the line is actually doing anything to improve mobility.

Ted Balaker is Producer


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