The mangled bodies of a man and woman who were struck by a Burlington Northern train were found Monday morning on a section of track just east of here.
Boundary County authorities were still notifying relatives Monday evening and did not release the names of the victims. A wallet was found near the accident scene, and Sheriff Greg Sprungl said the victims were in their 20s.
“We are not sure why or how it happened at this point. We are still investigating it,” the sheriff said. “We have no suspicion of foul play, and we do not suspect suicide. At this point it appears to be accidental.”
Sprungl did say alcohol was involved and that it appeared the couple had been drinking before being struck by an east-bound train.
Authorities said the couple were hit Sunday night. The bodies were discovered about 6:43 a.m. Monday by another BN train engineer who was headed west out of Bonners Ferry.
Chief Deputy Kevin Hayes said he isn’t even sure which train hit the victims.
“We don’t think the engineer even knew he struck anything,” Hayes said.
One BN train was stopped in Spokane Monday, and another stopped farther down the line to check for any evidence of the accident.
“All we know at this point is that one of our train engineers discovered the bodies and we are investigating it,” said BN spokesman Gus Melonas.
The accident occurred off Cow Creek Road in a sparsely populated area. It is a spot frequented by residents who use a swimming hole in the Kootenai River.
Sprungl said the couple appeared to have walked to the area. No car was found nearby.
Mike Mazon owns a machine shop on Cow Creek Road. He said he saw train crews out early Monday looking around, and then a sheriff’s deputy drove up.
Looking with binoculars out his shop window, Mazon said he realized crews were recovering the remains from along the tracks.
Mazon said his son walks near the tracks on the way to school, but saw nothing. The family’s German shepherd usually goes with him, he said, but the dog wouldn’t go across the tracks Monday.
About 30 trains a day use the section of track and are typically traveling about 45 mph. Although there is a clear line of sight down the tracks, it would be difficult to see anything on the tracks at night, authorities said.
, DataTimes The following fields overflowed: BYLINE = Kevin Keating Staff writer Staff writer Craig Welch contributed to this report.
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