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Vehicle struck by two light rail trains near U.S. Bank Stadium, 7 injured

According to Metro Transit Police, the collision occurred at the corner of South 5th Street and Portland Avenue South shortly after 9 p.m. Monday.

MINNEAPOLIS — Seven people were injured — one critically — after a vehicle was hit by two light rail trains Monday night near U.S. Bank Stadium.

According to Metro Transit Police, the collision occurred at the corner of South 5th Street and Portland Avenue South shortly after 9 p.m. when the westbound vehicle entered the intersection and was struck by a southbound and northbound train. Officials say the vehicle was lodged between the two trains when emergency personnel arrived.

A motorist a few car lengths behind the vehicle that was struck captured the collision on video and posted it to a Reddit account. The video shows a traffic signal turning yellow moments before impact.

Two people in the vehicle were extricated and transported to a nearby hospital — one with critical injuries and the other with minor injuries, according to Metro Transit. Five people on the light rail trains at the time of the collision also reported minor injuries.

Metro Transit spokesperson Drew Kerr says the operators of the trains have been placed on administrative leave, which is standard in the case of such incidents.

"Light rail vehicle movements are guided by signals along the alignment," explained Kerr in a released statement. "As part of the investigation, we will be looking at what the rail and traffic signals at this intersection were showing when the light rail vehicle entered the intersection. An investigation may take several weeks to complete."

"I panic, I don't even want to hear it," Bonnie Faber said.

Faber was hit by a light rail train in October of 2018, also downtown.

"It was a rainy night and Ihad just turned this corner and I thought in my head, 'oh there's the street I need to turn,' and I look ahead, there are two green lights, and I think, 'oh I'll be there in five minutes.'"

Then a crash and a blur of blue and yellow. Faber said she thought she initially hit a bus. When she came to, she said it was to a pedestrian.

"I hear this woman yelling, 'but you had a green light, you had a green light,' and I looked up and I said, 'I did.'"

Faber said nothing came of her case from 2018, and that she didn't want to fight it.

Her crash was before a statute change in 2019, that now holds light rail operators to the same standards as motorists. The change was something Chad McKenney fought for, on behalf of Nic Westlake's family.
Westlake was killed in St. Paul after a light rail driver ran his stop light and crashed into Nic's car in 2017.

"The red light for a train driver is a horizontal white line, so that was clearly observed on the traffic cameras and the light rail drive drove through that sign killing Nic and severely injuring his fiance Neli Petkova," McKenney said.

While circumstances surrounding Monday night's crash are still under investigation, because of Westlake's case, since 2019, light rail drivers are held to motorists standards.

Something McKenney called a small step forward.

"And in this case, I don't know if the driver is at fault; I'm not making any conclusions on this one, but I think there probably are heightened penalties that could exist," McKenney said. "This is a good first step to hold people accountable, but when you're driving a train, one would assume you have a heightened standard of care."

Metro Transit says since light rail service began in 2004, there have been 416 recorded collisions with vehicles, pedestrians, or cyclists. The agency asserts that the actions of the train operator were a primary cause of the collision in just nine of those collisions. 

Kerr adds that in the past five years, there has been less than 1 collision for every 100,000 miles traveled by light rail trains. 


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