Apparent suicide halts BART station

A middle-aged man was struck and killed by a BART train Tuesday evening at the Powell Street station in San Francisco, closing the station for about an hour and a half to a throng of onlookers and riders waiting to get home.

At 5:55 p.m., a train headed outbound toward Daly City struck the man and swept the body underneath. The victim could not be identified by the Medical Examiner’s Office on Tuesday night, but according to eyewitnesses waiting at the platform at the time of the accident, the person appeared to be a large man who was crouching behind the platform’s yellow barrier line just before his death.

BART spokesperson Linton Johnson said eyewitness told him they thought the man committed suicide. The Medical Examiner’s Office could not confirm or deny this.

BART immediately closed the station after the incident, but it was reopened at 7:30 p.m. Johnson said trains were delayed by as much as 35 minutes. Trains from the East Bay were turned back before reaching the Powell Street station. Trains running from San Francisco to the East Bay were running on time only 15 minutes after the incident, he said. BART police escorted passengers to a nearby station and onlookers were told to go home.

At the site of the incident, the victim was found with a new looking sports bag. An investigator from the Medical Examiner’s Office pulled what appeared to be a book, a vial of medicine and an empty bag of potato chips from the sports bag.

One commuter, Jonathan, who did not want to provide his last name, was quietly waiting in the corner of the Powell Street station in apparent shock after the incident. He said he was waiting at the platform when the train struck the man.

“A couple of people waiting for the train who were near the guy said they think he jumped,” said the San Francisco resident, who was standing farther down at the platform and was headed toward 24th Street. “It was very strange. Everything just paused.”

bliou@examiner.com

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