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Runaway Train Reported in Ohio

The Associated Press

Tuesday, May 15, 2001; 2:11 p.m. EDT

FINDLAY, Ohio A runaway freight train carrying hazardous materials traveled Tuesday through northwestern Ohio. Authorities who tried unsuccessfully to derail it said they believe the engineer had suffered a heart attack.

The CSX train was carrying some kind of combustible material, the Hancock County Sheriff's Department said.

The sheriff's office said it was not sure how the train would be stopped. A dispatcher said the train was slowing down because it was moving uphill.

Officials tried to derail the train north of Findlay but were unsuccessful, said Robert Ruse, the city's safety director.

The train was clocked 46 mph, he said. The sheriff's department did not immediately know where the train started.

Copyright 2001 The Associated Press

-- PHO (, May 15, 2001


DJ Runaway CSX Train Stopped -TV -3: No One On Train -Report

Detective Dennis Alexander of the Hardin County sheriff's office told Cable News Network that the initial report he had received was there was no one on the train. He said "I didn't know what to make of it." (END) DOW JONES NEWS 05-15-01 02:46 PM

-- PHO (, May 15, 2001.


Wednesday, May 16, 2001

Mystery surrounds runaway train

By CHARLEY GILLESPIE-- The Associated Press

WALBRIDGE, Ohio (AP) -- The railroad worker who jumped aboard a runaway train and stopped it after it rumbled 70 miles across northwest Ohio said Wednesday he had been chasing it from the moment it left a rail yard.

The CSX Transportation employee's daring effort Tuesday came as authorities blocked traffic and made preparations in case the 47-car train derailed. The train, which included two cars hauling a hazardous liquid, stayed on its tracks and no one was hurt.

Jon Hosfeld, a 31-year CSX employee, said he jumped into a truck with two other workers as soon as the train left the yard outside Toledo.

They came within a few feet of the train at times as it rolled past farms, across highway crossings and through towns in three counties. But it was going too fast -- 20 to 45 mph -- for them to jump aboard.

"I'd watch it go by me, and I knew it was unsafe to get on," Hosfeld, 52, said Wednesday.

Eventually, other CSX workers caught up to the train with another locomotive and coupled it to the last car, then applied the brakes and slowed the train down to 10 to 15 mph.

That allowed Hosfeld to run alongside, grab a railing on the locomotive, pull himself on board and stop the train outside Kenton, about 55 miles northwest of Columbus.

"The adrenaline was going and I knew what I had to do," he said. "I just wanted to make sure I didn't get injured."

CSX isn't sure how the train left the yard. It was being assembled in CSX's Stanley yards and was then supposed to be moved to a departure track and sent to a nearby Norfolk Southern yard.

Several witnesses saw the train leaving and alerted CSX officials.

CSX investigators were at the rail yard Wednesday, and the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Railroad Administration also were investigating.

Using the same locomotive and number of cars, investigators on Wednesday sent a train along the same path the runaway train took through the yard, spokesman Bob Sullivan said.

Investigators also interviewed people who had been working in the yard, and reviewed the train's event recorder, which is similar to an airplane's flight data recorder.

Twenty-five cars were empty and 22 loaded with freight, mainly paper and lumber, CSX said. Two cars contained molten phenol, a hazardous but nonflammable product used to make dyes, paints and pharmaceuticals and as a general disinfectant, CSX said.

There was minor damage to some cars, CSX said.

The train rolled past houses and factories in Findlay, sometimes going past back yards and within 50 feet of homes, Hancock County Chief Deputy Doug Wilcox said. There were no evacuations in the city of about 40,000.

The train's route also took it through fields and several villages, at times running parallel to Interstate 75. At one point, police briefly evacuated about 100 workers at a meat processing factory near the village of North Baltimore when authorities attempted to stop the train.

It also ran through downtown Bowling Green, a city of about 29,600, and near Bowling Green State University.

"It would have been a disaster if it would've derailed in town," sheriff's Sgt. Maj. Mike Blair said.

-- Rachel Gibson (, May 17, 2001.

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