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Man dies in July Green Line crash

Posted on 08 August 2017 by Calvin

A 29-year-old Saint Paul man died after the vehicle he was driving was struck July 15 by a METRO Green Line train at the intersection of Eustis St. and University Ave.

Nicholas Redlin Westlake’s car was struck just after 9pm. He and a passenger, Neli Petkova, were traveling southbound on Eustis when a westbound light rail train collided with their car. St. Paul firefighters extracted Westlake from the vehicle and transported him to Regions Hospital where he died July 17. Petkova was able to get out of the vehicle on her own and was transported to Regions where she was treated and released.

Westlake was a 2005 graduate of Central High School.

The Metro Transit Police Department’s crash reconstruction team is leading the investigation. Witnesses have reported to media outlets that they believed Westlake had the right of way with a green light. Investigators are looking into that possibility, as well as ensuring that all lights were operating as expected. Investigators also are examining whether the train operator followed all Metro Transit’s standard operating procedures and all traffic laws as he crossed into the intersection.

The train operator, Abdellatif El Maarouf, a 12-year Metro Transit employee, remains on standard administrative leave.

Westlake and Petkova were dancers from Midpointe Event Center, 415 Pascal St. N. The Event Center celebrated the life of Westlake on July 21. The Center released a statement saying, Westlake “was a passionate competitor and instructor who loved introducing people to ballroom dancing. He and his dance partner and life partner, Petkova, were magic together on the dance floor as they continuously earned high rankings in National Championships. He was generous with not only his talent but also his time, as he spent countless hours working with local dance programs and volunteering with organizations that promote ballroom dance in the Twin Cities. His fire, his light and his smile will be missed by his family, friends, and students from across the globe.”

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