2 CSX workers fatally struck by Amtrak train identified

WASHINGTON — D.C. police have identified the two freight rail employees who were fatally struck on the tracks by an Amtrak passenger train north of Union Station late Tuesday night.

The two CSX employees were identified as Stephen Deal, 20, of Meyersdale, Pennsylvania, and Jake Lafave, 25, of Cumberland, Maryland.

D.C. police said both workers died at the scene of the accident. The D.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled both deaths accidents.

The National Transportation Safety Board is conducting its own investigation of the collision.

The two CSX workers had exited the stopped freight train to check out a potential problem with one of the train’s wheels after receiving an automatic alert, NTSB said. At some point, the workers crossed over onto an active track where they were struck by the Amtrak passenger train.

NTSB investigators are collecting evidence from the tracks, analyzing camera footage and data recorders, and interviewing witnesses.

A union that represents commuter train engineers said there was no way for the CSX workers to warn the Amtrak engineers they were on the tracks because CSX uses a separate radio system.

NTSB member Earl Weener said Wednesday that communication between CSX and Amtrak engineers ahead of the fatal collision is one of areas the investigation will focus on.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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amtrak | csx | fatal crash | ntsb

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