Yesterday the Pierce County Medical Examiner in Washington identified the third victim of the Amtrak crash as 40-year-old Benjamin Gran from Auburn.
Officials say Gran had been ordered to a lifetime of supervised release after he was convicted of a felony for having child pornography. He spent two years in prison and was let out in 2015. His mom came to his defense and shared a statement with Q13 News:
"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 had 86 people on its first trip with paying customers, and was on a new stretch of track on the route from Seattle to Portland with it derailed on Monday. Three people were killed and dozens more were injured.
The other two victims were 61-year-old Jim Hamre and 35-year-old Zack Willhoite. They both died of severe brain injuries from blunt impact on the train.