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Woman hit, killed by Green Line train identified

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Officials Tuesday released the identity of the woman who was killed by a Green Line light rail train Sunday morning, the first fatal accident involving the new light rail line since it opened June 14.

Shana Buchanan, 42, was crossing the tracks at the Westgate Station's crosswalk when she was hit and killed by the train shortly after 10 a.m., according to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner. The train station, located near the border of Minneapolis and St. Paul, is just a few blocks from her home.

Metro Transit officials say despite flashing lights and audible signals, Buchanan stepped in front of an eastbound Green Line train, KSTP reports. Officials believe she may have been wearing headphones or didn't notice the approaching train.

Buchanan worked as a criminal and appellate attorney in Minneapolis, the Pioneer Press says, before being placed on disability inactive status after the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility filed a disciplinary complaint against her. A referee had found she was "suffering from a serious mental illness," according to an office of appellate courts report from Sept. 2013.

The Pioneer Press says she was most recently working as a legal consultant and had previously worked as a law clerk. She was also a sixth-grade teacher in Minneapolis, the newspaper says, citing her LinkedIn profile.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office says the manner and cause of death are pending. Metro Transit Police and the Hennepin County Medical Examiner continue to investigate the incident.

As a safety precaution, officials have cautioned riders to avoid wearing headphones, talking on the phone or texting while around trains.

Officials said Sunday’s accident was the first “major” accident since the 12-mile, $1 billion Green Line – which connects downtown St. Paul to downtown Minneapolis – opened, the Star Tribune reports. Metro Transit official Bruce Howard told the newspaper there have been 13 “minor” accidents since it began operating. Many of those accidents involved vehicles and Green Line trains.

Sunday’s accident comes about a week after a pedestrian suffered non-life threatening injuries after being hit by a Green Line train on University Avenue near Chatsworth Street, not far from the state Capitol. Officials said the man was illegally walking between the tracks when he was hit.

There have been 11 fatal incidents along the Blue Line since it opened in 2004, WCCO says. The most recent fatality was in June at East 35th Street and Hiawatha Avenue.

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