Light-Rail, Van Crash in Washington, Five Hurt

Aug. 02--Five people were hurt Friday in a crash involving a light-rail train and a vehicle in Rainier Valley.

A 6-year-old boy was taken to Seattle Children's in stable condition. The four other people appeared to be in stable condition, with "aches and pains," and were taken to Harborview Medical Center, said Kyle Moore, spokesman for the Seattle Fire Department. The train operator complained of pain, but was not taken to the hospital, Moore said.

Sound Transit spokesman Bruce Gray said the train was mostly full, headed south toward Tukwila and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, when a van heading north on Martin Luther King Jr. Way South illegally turned in front of the train at South Brandon Street.

The train operator used the emergency brake, Gray said. There were no immediate reports of passengers hurt by the sudden stop. The train sustained substantial damage and was towed from the scene, police said.

"This is the first train and vehicle crash that I can remember for several years," Gray said. "It was also unusual in that the train and the car were going opposite ways."

The crash blocked light-rail service between the Mount Baker and Othello stations. Sound Transit and King County Metro sent a group of buses to transfer passengers.

The van also toppled a pedestrian light signal.

The crash occurred just before 3:30 p.m., according to fire department dispatch listings. Full service was restored on Central Link light rail, which was using both tracks about two hours after the crash.

Erin Heffernan contributed to this report. Mike Lindblom: 206-515-5631 or mlindblom@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @mikelindblom

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