Parker: Train sui­cides more com­mon, help is out there

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - FRONT PAGE -

The mes­sage caused havoc and con­cern in­side Tren­ton Tran­sit Center Thurs­day just af­ter com­muters boarded the 7:12 train headed north to New York City.

“Due to po­lice ac­tiv­ity near Edi­son, all train ser­vice to New York City is sus­pended.”

Po­lice ac­tiv­ity on New Jersey Tran­sit rail lines means a fa­tal­ity or se­ri­ous in­jury, fre­quently as sui­cide at­tempts.

The Thurs­day event oc­curred in Me­tuchen when a per­son died af­ter be­ing struck by a New Jersey Tran­sit train. The en­tire North­east Cor­ri­dor line was sus­pended for about 90 min­utes.

Com­muters in­side the Tren­ton Tran­sit Center scram­bled for al­ter­na­tive travel. Some ex­ited onto Wal­nut Ave. for cab ser­vice. Oth­ers made phone calls to of­fices or loved ones.

And other train riders, plus, NJ Tran­sit em­ploy­ees ac­cepted their fate. They found seat­ing, eyed iPhones. Some even en­gaged in the lost hu­man art of con­ver­sa­tion.

• In April, NJ Tran­sit’s rail ser­vice on the North­east Cor­ri­dor line closed be­tween Metro Park and Tren­ton af­ter an Amtrak “tres­passer” fa­tal­ity at the New Brunswick sta­tion.

• On July 24, A 34-year-old Wood­bridge man died af­ter be­ing struck by a train near the Metropark train Sta­tion. Po­lice ruled his death a sui­cide.

Fed­eral Rail­road Ad­min­is­tra­tion es­ti­mated that more than 300 peo­ple at­tempted sui­cide by train in 2017 with 266 dy­ing.

Th­ese deaths on rail lines iden­tify as “tres­passer fa­tal­i­ties.” Why? It’s all about po­ten­tial law­suits. The law de­ter­mines any per­son found on rail­road tracks at any lo­ca­tion other than a des­ig­nated cross­ing, for any rea­son, is a tres­passer. If any of the peo­ple in the ac­ci­dents men­tioned above are de­ter­mined to be tres­passers, the rail­road can­not be held re­spon­si­ble for its neg­li­gence, ac­cord­ing to a post by Su­gar­man Law Firm.

The Na­tional Sui­cide Pre­ven­tion Life­line is a na­tional net­work of lo­cal cri­sis cen­ters that pro­vides free and con­fi­den­tial emo­tional sup­port to peo­ple in sui­ci­dal cri­sis or emo­tional dis­tress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The out­reach com­mits to im­prov­ing cri­sis ser­vices and ad­vanc­ing sui­cide pre­ven­tion by em­pow­er­ing in­di­vid­u­als, ad­vanc­ing pro­fes­sional best prac­tices, and build­ing aware­ness.

Na­tional Sui­cide Pre­ven­tion Hot­line 1 (800) 273-8255.


A death on the tracks in Me­tuchen Thurs­day sus­pended train traf­fic north from Tren­ton, caus­ing travel prob­lems and con­cerns for com­muters at Tren­ton Tran­sit Center.

L.A. Parker Colum­nist

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