Proceeds from the fund will be divided evenly among the men’s families as they recover from their injuries, which include fractures, spinal trauma and facial injuries.
A Local 1566 member who said he didn’t want to be named said he went to visit the accident site and couldn’t believe what he saw.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said.
Online video footage from a drone posted by WHAM TV Channel 13 out of Rochester N.Y. shows a sinkhole underneath the tracks at the accident site. Local authorities said the cause of the derailment was under investigation.
Members have been pulling together to help the families of both men as they begin the road to recovery from their injuries.
“The families have been astonished by the amount of support,” said the Local 1566 member. “We’ve worked with these people — they’re family.”
A current SMART Transportation Division conductor and a former member were killed when Amtrak Train 91 traveling from New York to Miami collided early Feb. 4 with a stationary CSX freight train east of Columbia, S.C.
Brother Michael Cella, 36, of Orange Park, Fla., was a conductor out of Local 30 in Jacksonville, Fla. He, along with the train’s engineer, Michael Kempf, a former SMART TD member out of Georgia, died in the accident, which injured more than 100 passengers, in Cayce, S.C.
Cella hired on with Amtrak as an assistant conductor in July 2008 and became a full member of SMART TD in September of that year.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating the collision that happened about 2:30 a.m. Feb. 4 when the Amtrak locomotive hit the locomotive of the parked CSX train head-on.
Train 91 was carrying eight crew members and 139 passengers, Amtrak said on a posting on its website.
“We are cooperating fully with the NTSB, which is leading the investigation, as well as working with FRA and CSX. CSX owns and controls the Columbia Subdivision where the accident occurred,” Amtrak said in a statement on Twitter. “CSX maintains all of the tracks and signal systems. CSX controls the dispatching of all trains, including directing the signal systems which control the access to sidings and yards.”
NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt also said during a news conference that CSX owns and operates the tracks that the Amtrak train was traveling. A switch that was “lined and locked” in the position to divert traffic onto the track where the CSX train was parked is being considered a cause of the accident.
“Key to this investigation is learning why the switch was lined that way,” Sumwalt said.
“We were able to see that it was actually literally locked with a padlock,” he said when asked by a reporter if there was any physical indication that the switch was faulty.
A statement issued by CSX offered condolences to the families of Cella and Kempf and said that the carrier was focused on providing assistance and support to those affected by the accident.
Sumwalt said that the forward-facing video recorder from the Amtrak locomotive had been recovered and was already transported to the NTSB offices in Washington D.C. for investigation.
The event recorders from both trains were still being sought, he said.
“Fully operational positive train control could have avoided this accident,” Sumwalt said.
In a tweet, NTSB said it expected to release additional information at 4 p.m. Eastern Feb. 5.
The Cayce accident is the third fatal incident in three months involving Amtrak trains. A derailment off an overpass in Washington state in December killed three passengers, and an occupant of a garbage truck that was struck by an Amtrak train Jan. 31 near Charlottesville, Va., also died.
Brother Steven Barber of Local 1346 in Nashville, Tenn., lost his arm during last week’s solar eclipse while working as a foreman. Management was unavailable during the incident at Radnor yard because they were watching the eclipse, delaying emergency treatment to Barber.
The FRA is investigating the incident. No word has been given on the condition of Brother Barber. SMART TD extends their deepest sympathies to Brother Barber and wishes him a speedy recovery.
Two employees of CSX Transportation were struck and killed, Tuesday, June 27, as an Amtrak train approached Union Station in Washington, D.C.
The victims were aboard a CSX freight train approaching the station when an alert instructed the crew to stop and check part of the train, a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) official said. The two CSX employees were then struck by the Amtrak train after getting off of their freight train. Of the 121 passengers aboard Amtrak Train 175, no one was hurt.
The identities of the two victims has not yet been released out of respect for the families. The NTSB is still investigating the cause of the accident.
BILOXI, Miss. – An eastbound CSX train hit a packed charter bus that was stuck on the tracks at approx. 2 p.m., Tuesday, March 7. Four fatalities have been reported and several people were airlifted from the scene. Nearly all of the 50 people aboard the bus were injured, several critically.
Click here to see video and read more from CNN.com.
In an early morning accident Tuesday, July 9, Local 794 member Kevin Beggs was trapped under a BNSF boxcar, causing him to lose his legs. Currently, Beggs is listed in critical condition at Via Christi on St. Francis Hospital in Wichita, Kan., where he was flown via helicopter. It has been reported that Beggs has internal injuries and doctors have been struggling to regulate his blood pressure.
Officials don’t yet know what happened at the scene, but it is believed that Beggs fell from the boxcar and was run over and trapped beneath it.
Wellington Fire Chief Tim Hay, who was on the scene, sai that Beggs was working at the BNSF switching station when he fell from the boxcar. Hay said that Beggs allegedly fell to the tracks and was run over and pinned by two of the wheels of the 1,000-plus pound rail car.
Hay contends that BNSF employee Blaine Zeka was very helpful in the rescue when he produced a jack for the rail cars that could simultaneously lift the axel and the wheels at the same time.
“He had the expertise to operate the jack,” Hay said. “He was instrumental in assisting with the 45-minute extrication.”
Beggs has a wife and a son, Eliot, currently serving in Afghanistan. He has been an active member of his Wellington community, having served as the Chamber of Commerce president, ran a bakery and owned the Regent Theater.
Kelsey Gibson, 21, daughter of Michigan State Legislative Jerry Gibson and his wife Carmella, was seriously injured the morning of Jan. 29 in an automobile accident.
Kelsey, a student at Grand Valley State University and recently engaged to be married, was driving a Ford Escape when she was broadsided by a pickup truck in heavy fog. She remains hospitalized and in a coma.
A fund for the Gibson family has been established at FifthThird Bank. Send donations to: Stephanie Hickox, FifthThird Bank, 3980 Alpine Ave., Comstock Park, MI 49321. Make the check payable to “FBO Kelsey Gibson.” On the memo line put “#7168002785.”
Donations can be made at all FifthThird Banks nationwide. Visit any FifthThird Bank and ask to make a deposit into account #7168002785, FBO Kelsey Gibson.
“The doctors have told Jerry and Carmella that Kelsey is in for a long fight. That’s a lot of missed work and family expenses to be met,” said Don Silseth, UTU Local 313 treasurer and legislative representative. “If you can donate one day of pay, great. If you can donate a half day of pay, great. If you can donate one hour of pay, great. If you can offer continued prayers, great. It’s all needed and appreciated.”
MINERAL SPRINGS, N.C. — CSX conductor Phillip E. Crawford Jr., 33, and locomotive engineer James Gregory Hadden, 36, were killed early May 24 in a rear-end collision here involving two CSX freight trains, according to news reports. Mineral Springs is some 30 miles south of Charlotte.
Crawford was a member of UTU Local 970, Abbeville, S.C. He signed on with CSX in October 2005.
Two crew members on the lead train, which was hit from the rear, suffered minor injuries, reported the Charlotte Observer.
The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Railroad Administration are investigating the North Carolina train collision, and a member of the UTU Transportation Safety Team is assisting the NTSB.
A CSX spokesperson told the Associated Press that the rear-end collision occurred on northbound tracks and involved one train enroute to Hamlet, N.C., from New Orleans, and another enroute to Charlotte from southern Georgia. Each train was pulled by two locomotives; one pulling nine freight cars, and the other 12, said CSX.
In Ft. Worth, a BNSF switch foreman and UTU Local 564 member, Paul Young, 28, with almost seven years’ service, lost both legs and an arm after being hit by a train in BNSF’s Alliance Terminal of May 23. Young, a resident of Haslet, Texas, reportedly was performing a gravity switch at an ethanol plant at the time of the accident.