Railroad News

Pedestrian Killed by Amtrak Train at BNSF Crossing

(Kent, Washington – May 11, 2014)

A retired partner in a prominent Kent, WA law firm that still bears his name died tragically Sunday afternoon at about 2:30 P.M. in Kent when he was struck by an Amtrak train on its way from Seattle, WA to Eugene, OR with 220 passengers on board at the automobile traffic-signalized grade crossing of BNSF  rails and East Titus Street.

Pete Curran, 81, was walking east when he walked in front of the train, which may have been traveling as fast as 79 mph, at the crossing. He was declared dead at the scene by a staff member from the King County Medical Examiner’s Office, with the death ruled an accident.

Curran, a widower, was well known and well liked by community and clients alike, having retired from full-time practice in the late 1990’s, according to attorney and Curran Law Firm member Mark Davis, who said that “The message he would instill in us as the most important was giving back to your community.”

Curran had been associated with the Curran firm, founded by his brother, James Curran, in 1948,  following Pete’s graduation from the University of Washington School of Law in 1960. Pete and his wife, Pat, who died of cancer in 2011, were the parents of eight children. “He would brighten up the office whenever he stopped by,” said Davis, who first began working with Curran in 1979, adding that Curran had dropped by the office only last week.

Pacific Local News Reporter Steve Hunter noted that “Curran is the first person killed by a train in Kent since three people were killed in separate accidents in 2011. Eleven people have been killed by trains in Kent over the last 17 years, according to the (Washington) State Utilities and Transportation Commission.”

The tragedy marked the third accident and the second fatality, both of them pedestrians, to occur at the Titus Street crossing, which handles a daily average of 63 BNSF freight and Amtrak passenger trains at a top allowable speed of 79 mph on its double-track rail line.