Tuesday, March 03, 2015


When I was a street cop, I hated working fatalities.  Truly, I did.  They were messy, they were traumatic, and most of the time, they were avoidable.  We went through the motions and did our investigation, and we tried to comfort the survivors, but the cold fact is that their life has changed, permanently changed, in an instant.  A loved one is gone and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

I read this report on our local Sheriff's facebook page.

It brought me back to a fatality I worked when I was supervising the MPs at one post.  A soldier had been walking on the tracks, late at night.  From all indications he had been downtown partying and knew that the railroad tracks went near his barracks, so he decided to walk the tracks four miles to the barracks.

We got the call and rolled on it, and when I got there a young E-5 was doing his investigation, so I stayed long enough to make sure that he had the assets he needed then left him to do his job.  The next morning, I grabbed the report to review it.  The narrative portion of the report said, in its entirety.
Service-member was walking between the railroad tracks when he failed to observe a southbound freight train.
That's the most concise narrative of a fatality that I've ever seen, and I couldn't find a thing wrong with it.

My condolences to everyone involved.

1 comment:

Retired Spook said...

I spent a brief stint with CNW railroad many years ago. One of the things I learned is that with a train of loaded cars, when the brakes are blown (the air is dumped in an emergency-stop situation) the last car will pass the point where the brakes were blown before the train stops. If you're running a unit train (all coal cars, or all grain cars, etc) you probably have somewhere between 90 and 120 cars, which means your train is over a mile long. That's a looonnggg time to stop.