A 42-year-old White Rock woman was killed when she was struck by an Amtrak train near the White Rock pier in the seaside community south of Vancouver on Sunday evening.
Anita Lewis was out jogging with her husband, who was ahead of her, when she was struck and killed by the northbound train as she crossed the tracks at Marine Drive and Finlay Street at about 9:15 p.m. PT
"Off duty first responders were on scene within seconds but despite efforts to revive her, the female did not survive her injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene," said a statement released by Const. Janelle Shoihet.
Lewis was a mortgage broker who worked for an office in White Rock. Throughout the day, family and friends arrived at the crossing to leave flowers.
Questions about earbuds, train whistle
Investigators say they are not sure why she stepped in front of the Amtrak passenger train, but it is possible she was unaware of the approaching train when she crossed the track. Suicide and foul play have been ruled out by police.
"Preliminary reports do indicate that she may have been wearing headphones. Now whether or not the headphones were activated and whether or not she had them in her ear, we will be looking into."
White Rock's mayor says there are also concerns about whether or not the train whistle was sounded. The stretch of track has restrictions against train whistles after 8 p.m. PT because of local noise concerns.
"They are supposed to blow well in advance of this crossing. At night there is a no blow doctrine in, but that doesn't obviate the need for them to blow at the beginning of town," said Mayor Wayne Baldwin.
Amtrak spokesperson Vernae Graham said the engineer did spot something on the tracks and likely sounded the whistle at some point during the emergency stop.
"The train went into an emergency. There more than likely were whistles being blown if that train is being put into emergency braking."
The woman's husband was just steps away, but was not hurt, police said.
Police are continuing their investigation.