An Amtrak train approaches tributes laid near the East Beach site where Anita Lewis (below) was struck and killed in July 2013. More than a year later

An Amtrak train approaches tributes laid near the East Beach site where Anita Lewis (below) was struck and killed in July 2013. More than a year later

No coroner advice in White Rock train fatality

Headphones likely prevented Anita Lewis from hearing the approach of the passenger train that hit her, a coroner's report notes

The death of a woman on East Beach train tracks 14 months ago has been ruled accidental.

According to a long-awaited coroner’s report on the death of Anita Lewis, the 42-year-old who died of multiple blunt-force injuries suffered July 14, 2013 when she was struck by a passenger train as she jogged across the tracks at the pedestrian crossing in the 15600-block of Marine Drive.

In the report – released to Peace Arch News Tuesday – coroner Cynthia Wicks concludes Lewis likely didn’t notice the train until it was too late.

Video surveillance from the train shows Lewis looking west while approaching the tracks, the report notes; the train came from the east.

“It’s reasonable to conclude that Mrs. Lewis didn’t hear the train due to the fact that she was wearing headphones,” Wicks writes. “Mrs. Lewis was looking westbound and her baseball hat’s rim may have affected her peripheral vision, therefore it’s quite likely she never noticed the train until the last second.”

Noting Transport Canada had recently ordered that trains travelling “between dusk and dawn” blast their horns intermittently as a safety warning, Wicks made no recommendations. (The order now says from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and the blasts are to be sounded repeatedly.)

Regarding the time it took to complete the report, B.C. Coroners’ Service spokesperson Barb McLintock said the service is “always the last out of the gate.”

“Some… require other agencies’ investigations to take place.”

In this case, those agencies included Transport Canada,  White Rock RCMP and the city.

Transport Canada’s review – shared within two months of the incident – determined that the operation of the train involved and signage at the crossing were in compliance with the Railway Safety Act and associated rules.

The federal agency ordered the City of White Rock and BNSF to conduct a joint review of train-whistling rules that restricted overnight whistling and other safeguards along the waterfront.

Efforts are ongoing to implement safety measures, and so far have included the addition of ‘look, listen, live’ and other signage; and fencing along the south and west sides of Bayview Park. Chainlink mesh is soon to be installed along the length of the handrailing; pedestrian crossings are to be levelled; and signal arms and lights will eventually be installed at key crossings.

Const. Shaileshni Molison said the police investigation – finding the death to be a “tragic accident” –  wrapped up in September 2013.

Regarding the 2½-month gap between the report’s completion and its release – it was signed July 9 – McLintock said the process is the same for all coroner reports: rigorous editing and quality assurance; then, release to the family for a couple of weeks before it goes public, to ensure they don’t learn about any findings in the media.

“So a couple of months lag time is about normal and means nothing,” McLintock said.

Immediately following Lewis’s death, McLintock attributed a delay in the release of information to limited staff and media inquiries into the death of actor Cory Monteith in Vancouver the day before. The cause of Monteith’s death was announced within days. The coroner’s report was signed Sept. 16 of that same year, and released two weeks later.



Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Welcome to your park sign marks the spot where 84th Avenue will continue east from King George Boulevard to 140th Street as part of a $13 million road project. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Road Rage: Opposition mounts anew to Surrey’s plan for 84 Ave. south of Bear Creek Park

Same place, same project, same fight as Surrey prepares once again to connect 84th Avenue between King George and 140th Street in Newton

The Surrey Board of Trade has launched a new ‘Say Yes to the Vaccine’ campaign. (File photo)
Surrey Board of Trade launches campaign to promote COVID-19 vaccination

Vaccinations are the only solution to re-opening the econony, says board

South Surrey senior Marnie Allard is this year’s honoree in the IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s. (Contributed photo)
South Surrey senior honoured in 2021 Alzheimer’s walk

Marnie Allard is living with posterior cortical atrophy

The recently-formed Heron Hospice Society of Delta will offer compassionate end-of life programs for individuals and families experiencing grief and loss, and aims to support the recently reopened Irene Thomas Hospice, according to a release issued Tuesday, April 20. (Heron Hospice Society of Delta/Facebook photo)
New society to support hospice care in Delta

Heron Hospice Society of Delta “will embrace all end-of-life choices,” says president Chris Pettypiece

The volume of visitors to White Rock’s Marine Drive over the weekend has led council to consider special measures this week. (Aaron Hinks photo)
White Rock council rejects resident-only parking for waterfront

Other health and safety measures to be considered in a special meeting Wednesday

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

Cash seized in a 2018 RCMP drug bust in the Lower Mainland. (Contributed)
Kelowna RCMP-led drug investigation nets charges for 4 in Lower Mainland

Cops seized 12 kilograms of MDMA and $380K executing several search warrants in the Lower Mainland in 2018

Abbotsford nurse at ‘breaking point’ pleads with public to take COVID-19 seriously

Instagram post urges general population to stay home, wear a mask and get vaccinated

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A native-to-B.C. wild queen bee (bombus melanopygus for those in the know) feeds on a periwinkle flower. (Submitted/Sarah Johnson, Native Bee Society of BC)
B.C.’s wild bees need messy gardens to survive

The year-long nesting period makes habitat a primary concern for wild bees

Westbound Highway 1 traffic near Herrling Island is backed up a long way following a vehicle incident. (Photo/Trish Dunbar)
Pedestrian killed in crash near Agassiz

Woman in her 50s struck by moving van

FILE – Health-care workers wave to people clapping and yelling thank you to the frontline workers during the 7 p.m.-tribute outside the Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, April 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. nurses issue plea for all to follow health orders as hospitalizations spike

Nurses worried about strain COVID-19 is having on hospital capacity, care

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. The University of Victoria says Williams has resigned effective immediately. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
University of Victoria women’s rowing coach resigns by mutual agreement

Lawsuit filed last summer accused Barney Williams of verbal abuse

Most Read