Motorized wheelchair fell between cars at station

A mother and her adult son died in an accident just before noon Saturday, Aug. 16, after getting off a MAX train near Gresham City Hall.

According to KOIN TV News, Bertha Nellie Kelly, 66, and her son John Paul Kelly, 48, got off the eastbound MAX train around 11:35 a.m.

They then moved under the station shelter, according to TriMet officials, and it appears John Paul, who was reported by neighbors to be developmentally disabled, then sat on his mother’s lap, apparently hitting the toggle control of her motorized wheelchair, which propelled them both into the gap between the two eastbound MAX cars just as the train was leaving. Bertha Kelly died at the scene and John Paul Kelly died a short time later at Oregon Health and Science University hospital.

The operator of the train did not see the accident and was not aware of it until a short time later, according to TriMet.

After the accident, Blue Line traffic was interrupted for several hours and shuttle buses served stations between East 197th and Cleveland avenues. Service was restored around 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

TriMet has surveillance cameras at the platform where the accident occurred and will review the tapes to determine if anything was captured on video.

Gresham police will handle the investigation into the accident, said Lt. John Rasmussen of the Gresham Police Department, and TriMet will handle any release of information regarding the investigation.

Angela Murphy, TriMet spokeswoman, said no more information will be released while the investigation is under way.

“Now we’re just waiting to see what the investigation yields from the Gresham Police Department,” she said.

— KOIN TV News contributed to this story.