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Monday, September 16, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Washington

Washington Supreme Court sides with railway in fight over video of man’s death

A Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, photo provided by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway shows a BNSF Railway train with a plow where it was clearing snow from the tracks after avalanche control efforts along the southern edge of Glacier National Park near Essex, Mont. On Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019, the Washington state Supreme Court ruled that a Pierce County medical examiner has no right to a copy of a video showing a man being struck by a train in Puyallup in February 2017. (Associated Press)
A Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, photo provided by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway shows a BNSF Railway train with a plow where it was clearing snow from the tracks after avalanche control efforts along the southern edge of Glacier National Park near Essex, Mont. On Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019, the Washington state Supreme Court ruled that a Pierce County medical examiner has no right to a copy of a video showing a man being struck by a train in Puyallup in February 2017. (Associated Press)
Associated Press

TACOMA, Wash. – The Washington Supreme Court has sided with BNSF Railway, ruling the Pierce County medical examiner has no right to a copy of a video showing a man being struck by a train.

The News Tribune reported Medical Examiner Thomas Clark tried to get the railway turn over a copy of the video to help determine the manner of death of 50-year-old Ronnie Stirgus.

Police say Stirgus appeared to have slipped or stumbled as the train approached in Puyallup in February 2017.

Clark told a lower court he intended to use a coroner’s inquest to subpoena the video.

Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst wrote for the court Thursday that the video could be subpoenaed, but “the subpoena is returnable only to the inquest jury, not the coroner’s office.”

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