Third victim of Amtrak derailment identified as Auburn man

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DUPONT, Wash. -- The Pierce County Medical Examiner on Wednesday identified the third victim of the train derailment as 40-year-old Benjamin Gran of Auburn. He died of multiple traumatic injuries in the train accident.

Federal officials say they were notified of Gran's death. Officials say Gran had been ordered to a lifetime of supervised release following a felony conviction for child pornography. He served two years in prison and was released in 2015.

Amtrak crash victim Ben Gran
(Photo courtesy of his mother)

Late Wednesday night, Gran’s mother, Linda Daniels, contacted Q13 News and shared this statement:

"Ben was my 40 year old, autistic, but awesomely autistic son...who was an Amtrak fan to the max. He lived, breathed Amtrak since he was two years old. Ben is known for being warm, generous, loyal, and one who makes a difference in the lives he interacts with. Some years ago, he made a mistake, that he paid dearly for, and because of his optimism, a team of professionals and his best friends who believed in Ben, he turned his life completely around and was living his life in a mature, contributing manner, and was the happiest he had been in his life. He worked in the autism business world in accounting, and love his work family, and was moving forward in a way no one thought possible. His fateful ride on Amtrak 501 has left his friends and family shattered beyond belief. It is the posts from those who knew him well, and the Washington State Patrol's gracious actions in locating our boy, that have saved us from not being able to stand."

Amtrak Cascades 501, carrying 86 people on its initial journey with paying customers, was on a new section of the route from Seattle to Portland when it derailed Monday. Three people died and dozens were injured.

The coroner's office also ruled the deaths of two other victims as accidents. Sixty-one-year-old Jim Hamre and 35-year-old Zack Willhoite, both rail enthusiasts, died of severe brain and skull injuries from blunt impact on the train.



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