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Tragedy at Church Street Station

Ever walk into a room or building and immediately know something is seriously wrong, without actually knowing specifically what it is? That's how I felt when I decided to take a MUNI ride via the Church Street underground station this afternoon after running errands.

Right when I walked in, something just didn't seem right. And after walking through the fare gate, I could tell something was up. People were standing all around on the walkway that is above both tracks and everyone had this quizzical-to-weirded out look.

At first, I thought someone had thrown a bottle or something at an incoming car, because I could see the remains of what seemed to be a large green-glassed bottle. But then when I got downstairs, they turned off the train entirely, and the train operator had a distressed look on her face. It turned out someone had jumped in front of the car and killed themself.

One hears about this from time to time, but it's different when you're there. If I had literally walked in 10 minutes sooner, I would have had the distinct horror of actually seeing it happen. For lack of a better, non-New Agey term, the energy in that station was just plain f--ked up and sad.

Within minutes they evacuated the station and the emergency response people were at the station. I took off and took my normal N a block away. So if you were wondering why there was no doubt a delay on some inbound lines, well, there you have it. A sad event, for sure.

(By the way, a big FU to the many cars on Market Street, including a limo, who refused to get out of the fire engine's way. Don't you people know how to drive?)

Comments

I ran into the resulting transit debacle from this tragedy, but haven't been able to find ANY news on it today. One news station had a blurb and said that the individual was actually trapped under the car but was not killed, and was taken to the hospital. No idea if they survived.

They closed both tracks between Van Ness and Castro, and were stacking up the N and J trains above ground for a while. While the fire engines were everywhere, I will say that the fire marshal deserves a big boo for parking practically in the middle of the street, making it almost impossible for the single lane of cars (and F trains and buses that were shuttling people along the closed route) to pass by. At one point in the middle of the whole mess, an F train came off the wire right in the middle of the intersection, at which point I think everyone just gave up.

My boyfriend and I had gotten on the F-line at Sanchez, just in time to watch the fire trucks pile up from the streetcar window. We found out about the suicide from all the people who'd been down there to see it.

Muni reacted quickly to this one though, shuttle busses up and down Market were running within half an hour.

I'm more interested in the human aspect to this kind of thing - of all the ways one could take their life, this would seem to be one of the most painful and agonizing ways to do it. It's unfortunate with all that we have here in the city to help folks, we can't reach all of 'em before they make a decision like this.

I think that when a person's mind is consumed by thoughts of suicide, their perception of (and aversion to) pain and agony are separated somewhat from reality.

I've always thought that it might be helpful to have signs near suicide-prone spots (like trains, and the Bridge) quoting the Rilo Kiley song: "Everyone fucks up/It's gonna be okay."

A friend of mine committed suicide about a month ago by jumping off the 20th floor of the Fox Plaza Bldg. I can't imagine actually having witnessed it - it was hard enough finding out about him killing himself. After reading this post, I can only imagine how traumatic witnessing that must have been.

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