Three Union Pacific crewmembers are dead following a Sunday morning (June 24) head-on collision between two freight trains near here that produced a diesel fuel-fed fire so intense that the thick, black smoke caused the closing of a nearby small airport and evacuation of a nearby trailer park.
Reported dead are UTU member Brian L. Stone (Local 923), age 50, of Dalhart, Texas; engineer Dan Hall and engineer John Hall (no relation to Dan Hall). Stone had been a conductor since September 2003.
Conductor Juan Zurita (Local 923) reportedly jumped to safety and was uninjured. Engineer Dan Hall is the brother-in-law of Local 923 delegate Randy N. Johnson.
Each train carried two crewmembers, according to a Union Pacific spokesperson.
Guymon is some 300 miles northwest of Oklahoma City and some 130 miles north of Amarillo, Texas, on the former Southern Pacific Golden State route linking El Paso with Kansas City. Union Pacific absorbed Southern Pacific in 1996.
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board are on the scene and two members of the UTU Transportation Safety Team are assisting in the investigation.
News reports indicate the westbound train, with three locomotives and 80 auto rack cars, collided with an eastbound train, with two locomotives, hauling chemicals that reportedly did not ignite following the collision.
Stone is the fourth UTU member killed on duty in 2012. Local 887 (Harvey, N.D.) member Robert J. Glasgow, 38, was killed May 28 in a switching accident near Kenmare, N.D.; and Local 1383 (Gary, Ind.) member Michal M. Shoemaker, 55, was killed in a switching accident Jan. 30 in Gary, Ind. Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority driver and Local 1563 member Alan Thomas, 51, was murdered aboard his bus May 20.
Ten UTU rail members were killed on duty in calendar year 2011, eight in 2010 and eight in 2009.