We conduct an experimental study to test the hypothesis that particle entrainment is associated with a passing retrograde vortex (spanwise vortex rotating counter to the mean shear). The pre- and post-entrainment quadrant structures are probed with the laser Doppler velocimetry (LDV) at a near-particle measurement spot, using the shifted-time cumulative quadrant fraction approach. The results are characterized by a pre-entrainment spiky rise of the Q1 fraction (outward interactions) and a mild increase of the Q4 fraction (sweeps), followed by the post-entrainment dominance of the Q4 fraction and a drastic drop of the Q1 fraction. Such results suggest that it is highly probable that particle entrainment is a result of the interactions with a passing retrograde-vortex-type coherent structure. The time series of 2-D velocities at the near-particle spot consistently exhibit the short-term peaks present at the time of entrainment. The quadrant signature at an alternative spot one grain diameter upstream of the target particle exhibits a sequence in which the pre-entrainment dominant Q1 fraction is replaced by the Q4 fraction, followed by a post-entrainment peak of the Q4 fraction. The results obtained from these two locations confirm the theoretical predictions, showing that different quadrant signatures would be detected at different spots during the passage of a retrograde vortex. We also perform an extra set of experiments, in which the target particle is set in an alternative pocket geometry with diagonal downstream valleys. The similar pre-entrainment quadrant signatures detected in all the experiments performed with different types of pocket geometry and the unique post-entrainment quadrant signature detected in those performed with the alternative pocket geometry imply that an obliquely oriented retrograde vortex may have passed, entraining the particle in diagonal directions. The results point to the potential discrepancy in the observed signatures that arises from the misalignment of the velocity measurement plane with the direction of particle entrainment.