OLYMPIA - A man whose arms were crushed by a train while he was sleeping in a tunnel has been identified as Jeremiah Roberts, from Missouri.
Roberts was treated in the area of Seventh Avenue and Jefferson Street about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday after residents there heard him screaming for help, Olympia Police Officer Shelby Nutter has said.
Roberts was flown by helicopter to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, and emergency room staffers there had to amputate one of his arms below the shoulder and the other below his elbow, Nutter said.
Nutter said she interviewed Roberts on Wednesday, and he is recovering.
Ruthie Snyder, downtown Olympia code-enforcement officer, said that about a year and a half ago, the city and Tacoma Rail blocked off a narrow tunnel adjacent to the railroad tunnel because eight homeless teens were living there. The narrow tunnel contained gas lines used by “a large part of downtown,” she said.
A gate with a sturdy lock also was installed on either side of a pedestrian walkway adjacent to the railroad tunnel, she said. The gate was installed to discourage foot traffic and loiterers, she said.
Roberts is transient, and goes by the name “Maya” in the Olympia area, a local transient man in Olympia said Wednesday.