Three arrested for stopping train in Glenwood Canyon
August 25, 2009
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Three transients were arrested Saturday night after allegedly tampering with a locomotive’s air-break system, stopping a freight train in Glenwood Canyon.
According to the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, Bradley C. Sanders, 29; David Michael Delvisco, 25; and Mary Ellen Carter, 31, were charged with endangering public transportation, a class 3 felony, in Garfield County District Court on Monday afternoon. If found guilty, the three face possible penalties of between four and 12 years in prison and between $3,000 and $750,000 in fines, for the felony charge alone.
The three were also each charged with misdemeanor offenses of criminal trespassing and criminal tampering.
Sanders received another felony charge of criminal impersonation, because he initially failed to accurately identify himself to authorities.
According to an arrest affidavit, deputies responded to a call from Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway that one of its freight trains near the Bair Ranch Rest Area was stopped and that three subjects had locked themselves in one of the engine compartments at the rear of the train.
The report indicated the three were blowing the train’s horn, and that they had activated the train’s emergency brake system, which brought the train to a halt.
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When deputies arrived on the scene, they were notified by the train’s conductor, T.R. Jones, and engineer James Murdock that the three were locked in the engine.
A deputy stated in the report that he saw Delvisco through the window sitting in the train’s pilot chair.
“The subject immediately ducked for cover and dropped to the floor,” the affidavit stated.
With the help of Murdock, deputies were able to gain access to the locked compartment, where deputies arrested the threesome. The report said Sanders was intoxicated and unresponsive.
The train was transporting hazardous materials, according to the report, and Jones told authorities that the actions of stopping the train could have caused the train to derail. However, a spokesman for the railway company, Steven Forsberg, said Murdock and Jones always had control of the locomotive and that the three in the rear engine would not have been able to gain control.
“The transients would not have had control of the train’s ability to move forward,” Forsberg said.
“Tampering with the air brake system anywhere else in the train can trigger an automatic emergency braking, which is what apparently happened,” Forsberg added.
The seriousness of the crime, however, caused 9th Judicial District Deputy District Attorney Tony Hershey to ask Chief Magistrate Ruben Hernandez on Monday to increase the bond amount for all three suspects.
Carter, of Colorado Springs, and Delvisco, of Alabama, are being held at the Garfield County jail in lieu of a $20,000 bond, while Sanders received a $22,000 bond.
According to Hershey, all three previously failured to appear for cases in other courts.
Forsberg was unsure at which location the three suspects allegedly accessed the train, which was traveling eastbound from Provo, Utah, to Amarillo, Texas, or how long they had been riding the train. He mentioned that the engine had to be decontaminated as a result of lice and urine in the compartment.