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Archive for Sunday, September 21, 1997

TRAIN BREAKOUT

September 21, 1997

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1 April 27, 1997 -- Two men, Floyd Richmond, 28, Garnett, and Willis Valentine Jr., 46, Waverly, were killed when their car was hit by a train six miles west of Ottawa. They had just played golf at Silver Lake. Both were thrown from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene.

2 Nov. 25, 1996 -- A 61-year-old Lawrence man died when a train hit his vehicle traveling 55 mph northeast of Ottawa. Glenn E. Groninger was on his way to work. Witnesses said he was weaving through closed railroad crossing arms when the Burlington Northern Santa Fe locomotive hit the car. Groninger was ejected from the car.

3 May 3, 1996 -- JohnMark Beatty, 27, Tulsa, Okla., died when hit by a passenger train southwest of Riverridge Road and Michigan Street in Lawrence. He apparently was sleeping on the tracks.

4 April 17, 1996 -- Edward Dale Fowlkes, a 27-year-old resident of Bonner Springs, was struck and killed by a train while walking on track in North Lawrence near the Interstate 70 bridge.

x. March 13, 1995 -- Clara Patterson, 75, Lawrence, died instantly when a freight train pulling 58 cars hit the stalled vehicle she was in near Seventh and Locust streets in Lawrence. Vernon Smith, 52, Lawrence, was driving the car when it became caught on the track. He was outside the car when it was hit by the train. Smith pleaded no contest to driving under the influence of alcohol and vehicular homicide. He was sentenced to 18 months in jail.

x. Feb. 20, 1994 -- Kenneth Cochran, 35, Topeka, was killed when the car he was driving struck a train east of Perry. He attempted to cross two tracks. A train was stopped on the first track. He was struck by a westbound train traveling 45 mph on the second track.

x. Sept. 22, 1993 -- Charles White, 41, died when he lost control of his vehicle crossing tracks on Douglas County Road 1750 about one mile east of Lawrence. He was going an estimated 60 mph at the time of the accident. Tests revealed his blood alcohol level was .187 percent, more than twice the level considered legally intoxicated in Kansas.

x. July 5, 1992 -- Clyde Skenandore, 45, Lawrence, died in a train-car collision east of Linwood in Leavenworth County. The 1977 Chevrolet driven by the U.S. Army Reserve veteran was hit by a Southern Pacific train at 4:50 a.m.

x. July 6, 1991 -- Roofing company employees Michael Wayne Harris, 18, Arlington, Tex., and James Ronald Tracy, 25, Lawrence, were killed at Third and Locust streets in North Lawrence when their truck was hit by a freight train. Harris ignored warning bells and lights and attempted to drive through crossing gates. He saw an eastbound train, but apparently didn't see the westbound train.

x. Aug. 21, 1990 -- Six-year-old Freeman Edwards of Lawrence died when struck by a southbound train at the Riverfront Park crossing north of Lawrence near U.S. Highway 24-40. Walking on the tracks with two other people, he apparently panicked as the train approached and chose the wrong escape route.

x. May 11, 1989 -- Lester Battise, a 25-year-old Haskell Indian Junior College sophomore from Livingston, Tex., was killed at a gravel crossing west of U.S. 24-59 on the north edge of Lawrence. The car Battise was riding in was rear-ended and shoved into the train's path. Edwina Sandoval, driver of the second vehicle, pleaded no contest to vehicular homicide. She was granted probation.

x. Dec. 29, 1987 -- Avid hunter and city of Lawrence maintenance worker Brian Birch, Lawrence, was on the west end of a trestle when struck at 2:15 p.m. by a 111-car train about three miles northeast of Lawrence along Kansas Highway 32. Birch, 26, was pointing a shotgun into trees east of the tracks when hit. The impact shattered the gun stock.

x. July 29, 1987 -- A Cotton Belt freight train collided at a crossing south of Williamstown, killing a mother and three children. Dead were Linda Taylor, 37, Claire Taylor, 8, Marcel Taylor, 6, and Maryjean Taylor, 4, all of rural Perry. The truck was driven by 14-year-old Cameron Taylor, who didn't have a driver's license or learner's permit. Three children escaped injury in the accident northwest of Lawrence. There crossing had a sign, but no lights or guards.

x. July 23, 1987 -- A Santa Fe train collided at 65 mph with a railroad maintenance truck, killing Steven R. Griffin, 37, Baldwin, and Amos Tso, 33, Pomona. The truck, modified to drive on rails, collided head-on with the train on a curve two miles east of Wellsville in northwest Miami County. The truck exploded and shed debris along 600 feet of track.

x. March 27, 1987 -- Four Kansas University students on their way to a Friday night party north of Lawrence died when struck by a train traveling 60 mph at Laptad's Crossing along U.S. Highway 24-59. Killed were Daniel McDevitt, 19, Salina; Joel Grantham, 20, Overland Park, Jenifier Jones, 19, St. Louis; and Betsy Dunlap, 21, Salina.

x. July 21, 1986 -- Conrad Nerd, 28, Topeka, was killed when a freight train struck the passenger side of his Jeep on Douglas County Road 1029 on the southeast edge of Perry. The crossing had signal lights and gates. The Kansas Highway Patrol reported Nard was apparently trying to beat the train across the intersection.

x. Oct. 27, 1985 -- Kansas University freshman Brian Edward Lucas, 19, Lawrence, was killed while playing a daredevil game known as "training." He was hit at 1:15 a.m. by a train moving 50 mph on a railroad bridge three miles east of Lawrence in Leavenworth County. The object of the game was to get close to the train without being hit. Lucas was struck and thrown 100 feet through the air.

x. Oct. 24, 1985 -- Jacqueline A. Jones, 55, Linwood, died after her car was struck by a train at a service road crossing one mile south of town near Kansas Highway 32. Her car was stopped on the tracks.

x. April 29, 1981 -- Santa Fe conductor Jack R. Valcour, 60, Lawrence, was killed while directing a switching operation in the rail yard near Eighth and Pennsylvania streets. He stepped into the path of a rolling boxcar. He had been a railroad employee for 43 years.

x. Oct. 2, 1979 -- An 18-car Amtrack passenger train derailed on Santa Fe tracks near downtown Lawrence, killing two railroad employees and injuring 69 people. National Transportation Safety Board concluded the Southwest Limited was moving 78 mph at the time of the derailment near Fourth and Ohio streets. The speed limit was 30 mph.

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