Atlanta public transport CEO dies by suicide after being hit by train

·2 min read

Atlanta’s celebrated transit leader Jeffrey Parker has died, with the news of his passing being announced over the weekend by his former employer.

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) – where he served as the CEO – explained that Mr Parker died by suicide after being struck by a train in DeKalb County’s East Lake Station at about 10.30pm, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

“He was an outstanding leader and steward of MARTA whose passing leaves us all heartbroken,” MARTA Chairwoman Rita Scott said in a statement posted to the agency’s website.

“We are devastated at this loss as we valued Jeff’s leadership and looked forward to him bringing his vision for transit to fruition. The entire metro Atlanta region owes him a debt of gratitude for his transformational efforts and we will not stop working to build on the foundation he created.”

Many people expressed their condolences online, including Atlanta Governor, Brian Kemp, who tweeted that Mr Parker “had an incredible mind for transportation and logistics and a heart for people.”

Mr Parker was a nationally recognised transportation leader with over 35 years of experience in the industry. Prior to his role at MARTA, he served as a commissioner at the Connecticut Department of Transportation and held leadership posts during his 20-year stint with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.

According to MARTA’s own website, CBS reported, the 55-year-old was consistently regarded as one of Atlanta’s most influential leaders, most glowingly of all by Atlanta Magazine, which named him among the city’s most powerful people in 2020.

Jeffrey Parker at an event (The Atlanta Journal-Consistution)
Jeffrey Parker at an event (The Atlanta Journal-Consistution)

In his nearly four years of leading MARTA, Mr Parker oversaw vast expansion plans in Atlanta and Clayton County, according to The Atlanta Journal Constitution.

If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, The Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone for free over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you are in another country, you can go to www.befrienders.org to find a helpline near you.