First reported 8/17/10 5:00 p.m.

The scene at Central Avenue and Lake Street at the CTA’s Green Line station Monday evening turned chaotic and tragic when a man was killed after apparently jumping in front of an oncoming train.

The incident happened at around 6:15 p.m. The unidentified white male was in his 50s, Chicago police said. As of Tuesday, police were considering it a death investigation and not a suicide at this time. Police said the case remains under investigation and could be reclassified.

A witness at the scene said the person just jumped in front of the train heading westbound to Harlem. An eastbound train heading downtown had also stopped at the Central station at the time of the incident.

Electricity was immediately shut off on all tracks. Passengers exited both trains, and one witness on the westbound train said passengers felt it collide with the man. According to witnesses, the train’s operator was emotionally distraught and had to be cared for by paramedics at the scene. Police vehicles and fire trucks soon engulfed the area, and passengers were evacuated from the station.

Electricity was restored to the eastbound tracks about an hour after the incident with trains in both directions using that single rail. Police said no motive has been determined thus far as to why the man jumped.

This is the second time in the last four years that someone has been killed on the Central and Lake tracks. In November 2006, a man jumped in front of a train and was killed in an early morning accident.

The city has experienced other train fatalities this year. On Aug. 14, a 30-year-old man was killed by a train on the Southwest Side near Midway Airport, an apparent suicide. And in March, a woman and her infant godchild were both struck and killed by a Metra train on the far North Side while trying to cross the tracks.

CONTACT: tdean@wjinc.com