Monday, February 19, 2001

Train engineer may provide cause of crash




By Tom O'Neill
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FRANKLIN TWP. — One of two men critically injured in a deadly weekend train crash here regained consciousness Sunday, fueling investigators' hope that he might provide answers to two crucial questions.

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This CSX engine was partially buried after ...
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this locomotive hit it from behind.
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(Tony Jones photos)
        Who was at the controls? And what did he see — or not see — in the moments before a CSX train crashed into the back of another? The investigation into the crash that killed CSX pilot engineer David Wund, 35, of Cincinnati, on Saturday includes a passing train operator's report of a nonworking warning light.

        That light — on the rear of the stopped train Mr. Wund's train struck — was not flashing, as it should have been.

        “We don't know who was operating (the striking train),” National Transportation Safety Board lead investigator George Cochran said Sunday. “And I don't know if we'll ever know.”

        The stopped train was carrying a shipment of iron ore pellets from Chicago to the AK Steel plant in Middletown. The striking train contained automobiles traveling from Marysville, Ohio, to Cincinnati.

        CSX spokesman Gary Wollenhaupt said the 2 a.m. Saturday crash caused minor delays, but by noon Sunday, 10 trains had moved past the scene on side tracks.

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        Neither the NTSB nor CSX would release the names of the two other engineers aboard the striking train with Mr. Wund, but a Miami Valley Hospital nursing supervisor identified them as: Terry Stover, 45, of Columbus; and Harry Everingham, 46, of Dublin, Ohio.

        Both remained in critical condition Sunday evening. It was not clear which of the two men regained consciousness.

        The men had years of experience in the train industry, but were relatively unfamiliar with the tracks where the crash occurred in Warren County.

        It's not uncommon for the pilot engineer, Mr. Wund, to remain at the helm during such runs, but no rule requires it, Mr. Cochran said.

        As he spoke at the Twin Creek fire station along the railroad tracks, just a quarter-mile from the crash scene, railroad officials conducted speed and visibility tests on the tracks.

        On Sunday, twisted wreckage of a train car rested down an embankment, visible from the fire station's property. On the side of the car was a yellow sticker with red letters.

        It read: “Ease Up! Handle Car with Care.“

       



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