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Colorado Police Detain Suspect, Confine to Squad car on RR Tracks, Train Hits Locked

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Posted by Steven Otte on Monday, September 26, 2022 9:43 AM

This thread has gotten argumentative, nasty, and personal, so I'm locking it. If for some reason you think this topic hasn't been discussed to death already, start another thread, but keep it civil or the same thing will happen.

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Posted by 7j43k on Sunday, September 25, 2022 10:37 PM

Convicted One

 

 
tree68
I think it's been said that this was as the result of a reported road rage incident.

 

And I don't want to stray too far away from "trains", but specific to the allegation .....credibility of accuser vs accused has me wondering? Would you be happy being wrestled into the back of a squad car based upon no more than a call from someone's cell phone?

 

 

No one was "wrestled" into the back of a squad car.  The door was opened, and she was instructed to "take a seat".

If someone reports a crime using a cell phone, it should be taken seriously.  That includes the possibility that you have the wrong person, it's a false report, there have been one or more misinterpretations.  I think the cops could have handled the stop better.

"Detainee" appeared to lie to police when she denied there was a weapon in the car. Not a good look.

 

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Posted by Euclid on Sunday, September 25, 2022 9:13 PM

Backshop
Every time there is a grade crossing incident, the usual suspect(s) say "the train crew could see the car/bus/truck on the tracks, why didn't they apply the brakes immediately?".  My question is--how often do you see a vehicle on the tracks when you're dangerously close and yet the vehicle makes it off the tracks before you get there?  In other works, is a collision a 1:100 occurance or a 1:1000 one? I think I know the answer and why air isn't dumped all the time.

There are two schools of thought on this.  One is black and white and the other is not.  For the black and white school, adherents say they never respond to a pending collision by braking until the collision happens.  They say they can’t stop in time to avoid the collision anyway, and dumping the air might derail the train.  That school is indeed black and white.
 
The other school tends to error on the side of caution by appropriate brake application if it appears that a collision is likely.  They realize that even if they can’t stop in time, they might slow enough to reduce the impact or give more time for a fouling vehicle to clear.  Either one of these outcomes can save lives.  They also realize that in heavy road traffic with trains approaching slowly, it is unrealistic to dump the air every time a driver cuts it close, such as a near miss with the train missing the vehicle by only a few feet.   In the first place, many of these incursions do clear in time.  Second, the train speed is often very low thus reducing the threat of serious injury or death.  Third, many times these are so close that the engineer cannot have much if any effect in either stopping or slowing down.  So this is not black and white because there is no clear answer. 
 
Where this non-black and white school makes the most sense is in cases where a vehicle appears to be stopped or stalled on the track from a relatively long distance such as 1,000-5,000 feet.   In this case, there is time for braking to make a difference.  There is also time to verify that the vehicle is likely to be stalled if it is not moving. Even if the train cannot stop in time, there is potential for significant speed reduction.
 
Out of curiosity, I asked reps from the FRA and Operation Lifesaver what they thought of these two schools of thought.  They both told me that they have heard many engineers say they would not dynamite the brakes until after a collision occurs.  Both told me they don’t know if these people would actually stick to that protocol or if they just say they would.  Both told me they always advised their engineers to follow the non-black and white school; and therefore should not rule out ahead of time, any application of air prior to an impending collision.  They said that if you do that, you might stick with that position by habit and later regret it seriously.  Both told me it was not the engineer’s job to worry about derailing the train when emergency braking is justified.  They also told me that the company could face substantial liability if an engineer testifies in court that he/she did not do everything possible to mitigate the collision or resulting injuries. 
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Posted by Convicted One on Sunday, September 25, 2022 9:04 PM

tree68
I think it's been said that this was as the result of a reported road rage incident.

And I don't want to stray too far away from "trains", but specific to the allegation .....credibility of accuser vs accused has me wondering? Would you be happy being wrestled into the back of a squad car based upon no more than a call from someone's cell phone?

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Posted by tree68 on Sunday, September 25, 2022 7:27 PM

Backshop
Every time there is a grade crossing incident, the usual suspect(s) say "the train crew could see the car/bus/truck on the tracks, why didn't they apply the brakes immediately?". 

I think this is born of the mistaken assumption that a train can stop on a dime.  As Balt points out, tain't so.

My usual answer is "it depends," which confounds those looking for black and white answers.

If you see someone in a crosswalk ahead of you while you're driving, you'll probably at least take your foot off the gas, and may shadow the brake pedal.  If it appears that you're not slowing enough, you'll apply some brakes.  You probably aren't going to do a panic stop on a busy street because you see a pedestrian half a block ahead of you.

Likewise, if someone steps out from between parked cars ten feet in front of you, you're going to hit them, no question.  So the wise move is to make a controlled stop.  A panic stop may put you into a skid and slide you into those parked cars.

It depends.

LarryWhistling
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Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, September 25, 2022 7:13 PM

Backshop
 
Murphy Siding 
Convicted One

Okay, it turns out the vic is an active TSA agent, and the crossing in question has a history.

https://www.9news.com/article/news/local/train-crossing-fatal-history/73-19b1aa25-318c-4a0d-ad7d-1161398aa8aa 

Do active TSA agents in Colorado carry firearms as part of their job? That might explain the holster, gun and ammo found in her truck. 

TSA personnel do not carry firearms.  They are not law enforcement.

Here's a question for our active and retired railroad T&E members that's been bothering me for awhile...

Every time there is a grade crossing incident, the usual suspect(s) say "the train crew could see the car/bus/truck on the tracks, why didn't they apply the brakes immediately?".  My question is--how often do you see a vehicle on the tracks when you're dangerously close and yet the vehicle makes it off the tracks before you get there?  In other works, is a collision a 1:100 occurance or a 1:1000 one? I think I know the answer and why air isn't dumped all the time.

A additional consideration is - everytime a train goes into emergency, at least under CSX rules, if the train contains HAZMAT it must be inspected, on the ground, to and including the last HAZMAT in the train.  Considering PSR train sizes that can easily be a multiple hour happening.

The other reality, when a train operating at track speed, is close enough to see that something is blocking the track - the train is way, way, past braking distance that would permit stopping before the obstruction.

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Posted by tree68 on Sunday, September 25, 2022 7:13 PM

Convicted One
Seems to me that the police were responding to hearsay evidence?

I think it's been said that this was as the result of a reported road rage incident.

The police can only respond to what they are told (see "swatting").  

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Posted by Convicted One on Sunday, September 25, 2022 6:57 PM

Murphy Siding
Do active TSA agents in Colorado carry firearms as part of their job? That might explain the holster, gun and ammo found in her truck.

Seems to me that the police were responding to hearsay evidence?

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Posted by Backshop on Sunday, September 25, 2022 5:46 PM

Murphy Siding

 

 
Convicted One

Okay, it turns out the vic is an active TSA agent, and the crossing in question has a history.

https://www.9news.com/article/news/local/train-crossing-fatal-history/73-19b1aa25-318c-4a0d-ad7d-1161398aa8aa

 

 

 

Do active TSA agents in Colorado carry firearms as part of their job? That might explain the holster, gun and ammo found in her truck.

 

 

TSA personnel do not carry firearms.  They are not law enforcement.

Here's a question for our active and retired railroad T&E members that's been bothering me for awhile...

Every time there is a grade crossing incident, the usual suspect(s) say "the train crew could see the car/bus/truck on the tracks, why didn't they apply the brakes immediately?".  My question is--how often do you see a vehicle on the tracks when you're dangerously close and yet the vehicle makes it off the tracks before you get there?  In other works, is a collision a 1:100 occurance or a 1:1000 one? I think I know the answer and why air isn't dumped all the time.

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Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Sunday, September 25, 2022 5:40 PM

As I see it, police were following training to fear the driver and stop behind vehicle. Driver stopped after crossing tracks so police stopped behind car and lost awareness of crossing. So after securing "perp" in cop car, their attention was diverted to vehicle and finding any evidence they could find. A SITUAIONAL AWARENESS failure. Good thing it was not fatal. But totally preventable. 

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Posted by 7j43k on Sunday, September 25, 2022 5:21 PM

The suspect FORCED them to stop on the tracks?  FORCED?

Probably used the Vulcan mind meld.

 

 

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Posted by Euclid on Sunday, September 25, 2022 5:02 PM

jeffhergert

 

 
Euclid

 

 
Convicted One
Hard to believe the train didn't start blowing sooner when seeing a car stopped on the tracks.

 

That car on the track was also "lit up" with blue and red flashing lights, although it is not clear as to how they would appear to an approaching train.  If those lights were visible to the engineer, that should have been a convincing indication of an emergency situation with an emergency vehicle stopped on the track.

 

 

 

 

I've been waiting for someone to ask why the train didn't stop.

I'm not surprised that it was finally asked, or who asked it.  But 6 days?  I think Bucky's losing it.

Next it will probably be suggested that the young women purposely stopped where she did so the police car would stop where it did, on the tracks.  Maybe not on this or any railfan forum, though.

Jeff

 

I have not asked why the train did not stop yet.  Your other question about whether the police should be exhonerated because the suspect forced them to stop on the track has been widly discussed in news coverage, and possibly touched on here as well.  I don't know what was happeing at the last instant at the crossing.  There was a door open in the driver's side.  I seem to recall some mention in the video of not having the keys to release the suspect.  

If those flashing red and blue lights were also directed to the line of track, and if there were no curve within a mile, that would have given a mile of warning.  That would be 60 seconds.  If the cop had the key, all he needed was probably 10-15 seconds.  

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Sunday, September 25, 2022 4:49 PM

Convicted One

Okay, it turns out the vic is an active TSA agent, and the crossing in question has a history.

https://www.9news.com/article/news/local/train-crossing-fatal-history/73-19b1aa25-318c-4a0d-ad7d-1161398aa8aa

 

Do active TSA agents in Colorado carry firearms as part of their job? That might explain the holster, gun and ammo found in her truck.

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Posted by zugmann on Sunday, September 25, 2022 4:13 PM

Convicted One
Seriously though...where is the train?  Not even an EOT visible down the tracks

https://youtu.be/9SW7qNcgy68 

~6:06 mark you can see the EOTD flashing.  You can also hear the brakes are set up as the train is going by. 

  

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Posted by Convicted One on Sunday, September 25, 2022 3:20 PM

jeffhergert
I've been waiting for someone to ask why the train didn't stop.

Seriously though...where is the train?  Not even an EOT visible down the tracks

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Posted by jeffhergert on Sunday, September 25, 2022 2:50 PM

Euclid

 

 
Convicted One
Hard to believe the train didn't start blowing sooner when seeing a car stopped on the tracks.

 

That car on the track was also "lit up" with blue and red flashing lights, although it is not clear as to how they would appear to an approaching train.  If those lights were visible to the engineer, that should have been a convincing indication of an emergency situation with an emergency vehicle stopped on the track.

 

 

I've been waiting for someone to ask why the train didn't stop.

I'm not surprised that it was finally asked, or who asked it.  But 6 days?  I think Bucky's losing it.

Next it will probably be suggested that the young women purposely stopped where she did so the police car would stop where it did, on the tracks.  Maybe not on this or any railfan forum, though.

Jeff

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Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, September 25, 2022 2:33 PM

Euclid
 
Murphy Siding
I don't think that the presece of  flashing police lights would be enough to tell the engineer that there was a police car on the tracks. 
Why not?  You have a straight track with flashing blue and red lights right on the track ahead.  What more would an engineer need to tell him there was a police car on the track?

He would need your eyes - since you can diagnose everything from miles away from the incident.

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Posted by Euclid on Sunday, September 25, 2022 2:10 PM

Murphy Siding
I don't think that the presece of  flashing police lights would be enough to tell the engineer that there was a police car on the tracks.

Why not?  You have a straight track with flashing blue and red lights right on the track ahead.  What more would an engineer need to tell him there was a police car on the track?
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Posted by Euclid on Sunday, September 25, 2022 1:47 PM

Convicted One

So, did the train not even stop here?  Going by the clocks on the bodycam videos the officers are running down the tracks towards what is left of the squad vehicle, approx one minute after impact, and from what I can see there is no sign of any stopped train.  I know it takes a while to stop, but it either must be a fairly short train, or it didn't stop...can't even see an EOT flashing in the distance.

 

I don't know, but I thought I was hearing a prolonged squeal of train brakes as railcars were rolling past the site.  I assume they made an emergency application just after hitting the car.  They may have made one before hitting it. 

The car may have disengaged from the locomotive and traveled some distance further before stopping.  

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Posted by Convicted One on Sunday, September 25, 2022 1:28 PM

Euclid
That car on the track was also "lit up" with blue and red flashing lights, although it is not clear as to how they would appear to an approaching train.  If those lights were visible to the engineer, that should have been a convincing indication of an emergency situation with an emergency vehicle stopped on the track.

I agree. Especially in consideration that any engineer would have "qualified" for that district, and would recognize something  that dramatically out of the ordinary?

If they are supposed  to be vigilant looking for  indicators as faint as warning flares on the track, you'd expect that an emergency vehicle with the flashy things going on would be noticed.

Again that's no attempt to pull the blame from where it rightly belongs,  just pondering peripherials.

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Posted by 7j43k on Sunday, September 25, 2022 12:47 PM

I heard the locomotive horn at 5:11 (on the 8 minute tape).  The cops ignored it.  The hit happened around 5:30.

At 55mph, the horn sounded at .3 miles away from the crossing.  The previous grade crossing is 1 1/4 miles away; so the horn at 5:11 is not for that.

At .3 miles away, it might not be possible to make out what's going on ahead.  Perhaps the engineer first thought the lights were for a pull-over on 85, and he sounded the horn for any potential bystanders.  Or perhaps he figured that there were cops up ahead, and they'd never be stupid enough to park on the tracks.  Until he saw they were and did.

There was about 20 seconds for the cops to react.  Except that they ignored the horn.  And the oncoming train.

 

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Sunday, September 25, 2022 12:33 PM

Euclid

 

 
Convicted One
Hard to believe the train didn't start blowing sooner when seeing a car stopped on the tracks.

 

That car on the track was also "lit up" with blue and red flashing lights, although it is not clear as to how they would appear to an approaching train.  If those lights were visible to the engineer, that should have been a convincing indication of an emergency situation with an emergency vehicle stopped on the track.

 

 

I don't think that the presece of  flashing police lights would be enough to tell the engineer that there was a police car on the tracks. Since there was more than one police car at the scene with lights flashing, the engineer would have known that  something was going on near the tracks and that there was possibly a group of people involved that needed to be made aware of the oncoming train. If I was the engineer, I would have made a lot of noise.

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Posted by Convicted One on Sunday, September 25, 2022 12:30 PM

So, did the train not even stop here?  Going by the clocks on the bodycam videos the officers are running down the tracks towards what is left of the squad vehicle, approx one minute after impact, and from what I can see there is no sign of any stopped train.  I know it takes a while to stop, but it either must be a fairly short train, or it didn't stop...can't even see an EOT flashing in the distance.

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Posted by Euclid on Sunday, September 25, 2022 12:21 PM

Convicted One
Hard to believe the train didn't start blowing sooner when seeing a car stopped on the tracks.

That car on the track was also "lit up" with blue and red flashing lights, although it is not clear as to how they would appear to an approaching train.  If those lights were visible to the engineer, that should have been a convincing indication of an emergency situation with an emergency vehicle stopped on the track.

 

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Posted by Convicted One on Saturday, September 24, 2022 11:18 PM

That other video...8 minutes long, is well worth watching in it's entirety, shows more of the related vehicle search.

Best I've been able to tell watching and listening to all the videos, there is only 14 seconds that elapses from the first sound of a train horn until the point of impact.  Not sure if anyone could have reacted and effectively extracted the victim in that short of time...except maybe that cop at 5:40 in the video. Hard to believe he didn't see the train well before he heard it. Hard to believe the train didn't start blowing sooner when seeing a car stopped on the tracks.

None of that is any excuse for the car being where it obviously does not belong.  Just additional observations

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Posted by Convicted One on Saturday, September 24, 2022 11:01 PM

Murphy Siding
are you messing with us? The video linked is under 3 minutes long. 

No, not messing with ya. I guess the que for "next" video to be shown (at youtube) reshuffles from time to time.

At the time of my comment, a related video 8 minutes long was next in the que....and I could see where chatanuga's enumerated comments keyed into the video.

But I've hunted down that other video, here tis'

 

https://youtu.be/9SW7qNcgy68?t=341

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Posted by jeffhergert on Saturday, September 24, 2022 10:49 PM

Murphy Siding

 

 
Convicted One

 

 
chatanuga
The second Fort Lupton officer, on the crossing with the cruiser, even fails to acknowledge the approaching train, even though he should have been able to see it coming as well as hear the woman's screams that there was a train approaching.  While there may not have been time to move the cruiser off the tracks, none of the officers make any effort to open one of the rear doors of the cruiser and pull the woman out and to safety.

 

 

What that officer at 5:40 in the video does, is absolutely inexcusable. 

 

 

 

are you messing with us? The video linked is under 3 minutes long. 

 

 

I think you're looking at the wrong linked video.  One of the more recent links is about 8 minutes long.

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Saturday, September 24, 2022 10:36 PM

Convicted One

 

 
chatanuga
The second Fort Lupton officer, on the crossing with the cruiser, even fails to acknowledge the approaching train, even though he should have been able to see it coming as well as hear the woman's screams that there was a train approaching.  While there may not have been time to move the cruiser off the tracks, none of the officers make any effort to open one of the rear doors of the cruiser and pull the woman out and to safety.

 

 

What that officer at 5:40 in the video does, is absolutely inexcusable. 

 

are you messing with us? The video linked is under 3 minutes long. 

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Posted by 7j43k on Saturday, September 24, 2022 8:25 PM

At least in some states, the law directs motorists to pull over at a safe location when "lit up".  Obviously, they have to evaluate where that is.

A lot less attitude from SOME cops would surely improve things.

 

 

Ed

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