Member dies in Calif. accident

Published: March 4, 2021

Last updated on March 10th, 2021

A Local 1544 (Maywood, Calif.) member lost his life as a result of injuries while performing service early March 3.

Ellis

Brother Taj Ellis, 46, of Chino, Calif., was making a set-out in La Mirada Yard in Orange County, Calif., at 12:30 a.m. when he was fatally injured.

He had been a member of our union since July 2013 and was a conductor for BNSF.

A member of the SMART-TD National Safety Team is assisting the National Transportation Safety Board, which has launched an investigation into the accident.

Brother Ellis is the first on-the-job casualty of 2021 for our union. Last year, four of our members died while in service. He is survived by his wife, Trinity, and children.

An online fundraiser has been established by fellow Local 1544 member Jimmey Diaz during this time of loss for Brother Ellis’ family.

“There are no words to describe how we are all feeling at this moment,” Diaz wrote on the GoFundMe page. “The smiles and laughter will forever be remembered my friend.”

The SMART Transportation Division offers its sincere condolences to Brother Ellis’ family, his Local 1544 brothers and sisters and all those who knew him.