El station death ruled accidental

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By SETH STERN

Investigators have ruled out foul play in the death of Brandon Washington, a 16-year-old Chicago resident who was found dead on the CTA tracks at the Forest Park Blue Line station earlier this year, declaring the cause of death an accident.

Washington was found by a CTA employee laying on the westbound tracks at the station, 711 Desplaines Ave., at about 2:40 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 4.

At first, investigators from the Cook County Medical Examiner's office thought the wounds to the head suffered by Washington appeared to be the product of a weapon of some kind rather than an oncoming train. Forest Park police, however, believed that photographs of the wounds seemed to match certain parts of the train, including the edge of a shock absorber and a metal knob on the generator.

After viewing evidence presented by Detective Pete Morrisette from an investigation conducted with the help of the West Suburban Crimes Task Force (WESTAF), the medical examiner's office concurred that Washington was killed by an oncoming train and declared the death accidental.

"I think it was basically through the photography [that the medical examiner's office came to its conclusions]," said Sgt. Michael Keating.

Officers also noted at the time of the incident that Washington's shoes and jacket were found about 150 feet east of his body, leading them to believe he was dragged by a train.

"We've had a lot of training in our evidence technician program, and I think it's showing," said Police Chief James Ryan.

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