Once a month Mike Hayner and one of his two autistic step-sons ride the West Coast Express from the train station in Pitt Meadows to Mission.
During their last trip two weeks ago, Hayner spotted piles of garbage along the tracks in Maple Ridge.
On Wednesday, he drove his truck to Port Haney and walked west along the tracks to take pictures of the garbage, to post on the Facebook page Protecting Maple Ridge, of which he is a member.
He didn’t see or hear the train coming, said his partner, Rieke Armstrong, a moderator on Protecting Maple Ridge.
“You’d think he’d feel it, but he didn’t.”
Emergency crews in Maple Ridge responded to a call of a pedestrian hit by a train Wednesday at about 6:30 p.m., near 216th Street.
A CP Rail freight train stopped on the tracks near River Bend, just west of the Port Haney train station.
First responders had to hike down the tracks to treat the man, according to RCMP.
Armstrong said Hayner was in and out of consciousness, but recalls a female CP Rail engineer asking if he was OK?
“She said, ‘I hit you with my train.’”
Hayner doesn’t recall where he was at the time, although Armstrong thinks he was in an airlift basket between the two rail tracks.
An air ambulance was called and landed near Brickwood Park, on the north side of the Haney Bypass, but was not used.
A West Coast Express train stopped and carried Hayner to Port Haney, where he was loaded into and ambulance and taken to Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, around 7:30 p.m.
Armstrong said Hayner suffered a cracked left hip and a broken ring finger on his right hand, and has three staples in the back of his head, but no concussion.
“He’s got lots of bruises and looks like he’s been in a fight with a box of cats.”
Hayner returned to his Maple Ridge home that same night. He’s having a difficult time getting around, added Armstrong, with whom he is a caretaker of her two sons.
“He’s going to be fine,” she said.
CP Rail police have located his cell phone and were to return it to him on Thursday.
His camera, Armstrong said, is still missing.
The pictures he was taking were for the Facebook page, which has been critical of Maple Ridge council over its issues related to homelessness, camps and shelters.
“Council doesn’t want to admit this is happening here,” Armstrong said of discarded garbage and needles.
“He was taking pictures to prove our point.”
– with files from Phil Melnychuk