Fire starter rides bike into train

The Kamloops RCMP is investigating a bizarre sequence of events that started just after 3:00 pm Wednesday and left a 51-year-old Kamloops man suffering from serious burns to his body and a deep gash on his head.

Just after 3 p.m. police were called to the Gateway Estates Mobile Home Park in the 7500 block of Dallas Drive where a resident had spotted a grass fire near the complex a short time earlier. Kamloops Fire Rescue initially attended to suppress the fire and discovered that the witness also reported seeing one man fleeing the area on a bicycle shortly after the smoke and flame were spotted.

While patrol officers were on route to that incident, police were notified by CP Rail Operations that one of their freight train crews had just called in to report they had struck a pedestrian about one mile west of Peerless Way near Highway #1. The crew had stopped the train and were walking back to investigate further.

Officers arriving at that scene found an intoxicated man suffering from serious burns to his body and a pronounced cut to his head where he had been struck by the train. Follow up investigation by police determined that the man had been lying in the grass field by the mobile home park and had fallen asleep while smoking. When the man woke up, both his clothes and the grass around him were on fire. He fled the fire scene and went to his residence in the mobile home park where he grabbed a bicycle and left the area.

The man made his way to the CP tracks on the north side of Highway #1 where he was subsequently hit by the train at an old level crossing that was closed when the roadway was discontinued. BC Ambulance Service transported the man to Royal Inland Hospital where he was admitted for treatment of his injuries.

Investigators will be conducting further interviews with the man in connection with the two events and will also be conducting enquiries into the stolen bicycle that he had been riding prior to the crash. The man is also considered a person of interest in the September 27 assault of a Kamloops Transit driver that occurred on Valleyview Dr. near River Rd. No charges have been laid in connection with any of the events.

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