Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Rain 37° Rain
News >  Spokane

Second death in two months reported on railroad tracks in downtown Spokane

Police are investigating a second death on the railroad tracks in downtown Spokane in as many months.

The latest death was reported Saturday just after 11:30 p.m., north of Sprague Avenue and Pine Street. The man found lying near the tracks was reported by railroad employees, said Spokane Police Department spokeswoman Teresa Fuller.

Major Crimes detectives responded to the scene. Police are trying to determine if it was an accident or a suicide attempt, Fuller said.

The man has been identified as 24-year-old Benjamin S. Oien. His body was cut between the chest and abdomen due to crushing force, according to the Spokane County Medical Examiner.

Oien has an extensive criminal history and in 2015 he pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer and stabbing a man in downtown Spokane.

The first death was reported on April 21 when a man, later identified as Gary L. Drake, 56, was discovered near the railroad tracks just outside the Intermodal Center downtown. The cause of death was a fracture at the base of the skull due to blunt force trauma to the head, according to the medical examiner.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.