Deaf man killed during RTD light rail R Line testing in Aurora

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AURORA, Colo. -- A deaf man was fatally hit by an RTD train while he was crossing the R Line on Sunday, the Aurora Police Department said.

Surveillance video from a neighboring business shows the man walking east on East 30th Avenue toward Peoria Street shortly after 2 p.m., moments before impact.

The video shows train crossing gates down and warning lights flashing before the collision. An RTD spokesman said everything appeared to have been properly working.

"I was waiting for the gates to come up after the train left, and I saw that something went flying," witness Mario Campos said.

Campos was in his pickup truck when the man was hit. Campos said he felt helpless.

"I just saw for a second that he went flying," Campos said. "I didn't even realize if it was somebody. I thought it was just an object of some sort."

Firefighters arrived about four minutes after the impact, according to a surveillance video time stamp.

The train on the new R Line is not open to the public and is in a testing phase.

An area business owner said she has seen the crossing arms go down at times when trains are not approaching -- something others in the neighborhood said can be confusing.

RTD said software testing procedures performed months ago could have caused crossing gate arms to move downward without trains present.

Police said the victim lived in the area of the collision. He was 35 years old, but his identity has not been released.

It's the second death on RTD lines in less than a week.

On Tuesday, the driver of a van was killed when investigators said he appeared to intentionally drive onto the tracks before being hit by the A Line train.

Service on the R Line is scheduled to start Friday.

The R Line will run 22 miles from the Lincoln Station to the Peoria Station. It will provide service to 16 stations. Eight stations are new with four new Park-n-Rides.

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