View Full Version : Never Knew Darwin Was a Conductor

07-22-2010, 01:38 PM
At least we're assured a good harvest this year.

Summerville man dies after trying to ‘slap the train’ outside bar
By Andy Paras
The Post and Courier
Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Summerville man celebrating his 23rd birthday died early this morning after he apparently tried to “slap the train” running past a local bar and was sucked into it.

Justin Helton was pronounced dead at the scene about 1:45 a.m. after sustaining multiple fractures and massive blunt force injuries, Dorchester County Coroner Chris Nisbet said.

Nisbet said Helton was at the Ice House Bar & Grill on East Doty Avenue when he apparently had too much to drink, clouding his judgment. Helton got into a few different arguments with patrons when he reportedly went outside while upset.

Helton told someone he was going to “slap the train” that was passing by, Nisbet said.

When doing so, he apparently was sucked into the train. Nisbet said the train conductor was not aware of what happened and had to be stopped farther down the tracks for the investigation.

07-22-2010, 02:18 PM
At least we're assured a good harvest this year.

The human instinct for survival is about as finely honed as that of a guinea pig.

Basel Gill
07-22-2010, 02:34 PM
That reminds me how much I love the Darwin Awards books. Chock full of stories about how natural selection really does work.

07-22-2010, 05:55 PM
The human instinct for survival is about as finely honed as that of a guinea pig.

Yum...guinea pig!

07-23-2010, 03:13 AM
How exactly does that work? Did he slap the front of the train or something? Cus I've been right next to several as they passed by and never felt any sort of pull.

07-23-2010, 03:22 AM
yeah, i call shenanigans (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MythBusters_%282006_season%29#Train_Suction).

Weird Harold
07-23-2010, 03:41 AM
yeah, i call shenanigans (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MythBusters_%282006_season%29#Train_Suction).
The Mythbusters didn't test anything close enough to touch the train as it went by.

If there is any "suction" it's within less than arms-length of the train and at the level of the wheels. Whatever the truth of "suction" caused by a passing train falling down within arms-length of a moving train is a seriously bad idea; many people who do fall down wind up under the train instead of rolling off the roadbed.

07-23-2010, 07:56 AM
When I was a teenager, a group of my friends (I use the term loosely) used to play chicken with the train. They'd run along side of it when it was leaving the local commuter station and then dart in front of it and see just how close they could get to being crushed. One time, one of the girls (about 15 years old) cut it a bit too close and didn't quite make it across. My friend's aunt was the first EMT on the scene. She said they literally had to pick up pieces of her for a good 200 yards along the tracks as the train front sucked her under and then dragged her till it could stop. I recall them having a casket at the funeral but from what I understand they could have just as easily used a decent sized bucket. It was NOT an open casket.

FWIW, I never played the game as I thought it was stupid...even for teenagers.

07-23-2010, 09:24 AM
When I first started working here, we were putting in a new subdivision right across the street from the railroad tracks. It was about 9 am and we were doing some clearing along the edge of the road when the backhoe operator started honking and pointing. I looked up and there was a Jeep Cherokee on one of the private crossings (it's a driveway so didn't have lights or signals or anything). The kid driving was going back and forth on the tracks as the train was coming. He finally backed off the tracks and was sitting there and just as the train got there, he went, trying to just beat the train and scare his four friends in the car. Unfortunately, he didn't make it. He was the only survivor and is paralyzed. I had to go to court along with several other workers on site and testify to what I saw. His family was bankrupted from the wrongful death suit and the family eventually moved away.

I'll never forget running over there and seeing pieces of all four of those boys down the track. It still gives me nightmares...I'll probably have one tonight just from talking about it. I've seen a lot of people get hurt and two people die working in construction, but that was by far the worst thing I have ever seen. I don't understand how police and fire people can do it...I guess they are a special breed.

07-23-2010, 10:37 AM
God, that's awful Sei.

We had a group of morons in highschool who jump from train to train - they'd get on a junction and then hop from car to car - BIG freight trains too. One kid slipped and had his leg amputated from the thigh down - he eventually came back to school, and I recall thinking it was so wierd to see him stumping up and down the four flights of stairs when we had an elevator for kids with disabilities etc. he seemed determiend to make the best of it, but shit.

07-23-2010, 10:56 AM
God, that's awful Sei.

Yeah...pretty awful. I mean, I've seen some pretty awful things in my life but that's pretty rough to witness. Violence in combat is one thing...a terrible tragedy like that is something else entirely.

I find it impressive that there are so many of us here with really bad train accident stories.

07-23-2010, 11:10 AM
Perhaps someone should lobby to have warning signs put up, or something.

07-23-2010, 01:50 PM
Perhaps someone should lobby to have warning signs put up, or something.
you're just not capable of shutting the fuck up, are you.

07-23-2010, 04:07 PM
I used to live out west in British Columbia, in a subdivision next to railroad tracks. There was a road parallel on both sides of the tracks, and further up the road from where I lived another road crossed the tracks. The trains went through pretty regularly (mainly hauling cars north from the docks) at about 40kph. Speed limit on the road was 50, so if you were driving alongside a train, you'd be slowly overtaking it.

I was about 12 or 13, in the car with my mother, and we had just come out of the subdivision heading north, driving alongside a train (on the right) that was also northbound. We were pretty close to the front, and there was a woman in a pickup ahead of us, a few car-lengths away.

We were all approaching the crossroad, and, as I recall, the light was red, but there was no traffic crossing the road because they were all stopped for the train. The lady in the pickup never stopped. She just turned left directly in front of the train. The train crashed into her and she and the pickup were just... gone.

The train eventually stopped, and I didn't really see the aftermath apart from a few parts laying around, but I'll never forget the horrible crunching sound of the impact.

I found out later that she actually survived the crash, although with permanent injuries.

I've always wondered how she could not have noticed the gigantic train traveling along beside her. Maybe she thought she could beat it, I don't know.

07-25-2010, 12:24 AM
Since a fair amount of folly is part of the human condition, I find the tendency to mock silly accidents a bit distasteful. That is, I don't have a problem with finding them somewhat amusing--after all, we're a pretty silly species--but to describe the victims as people undeserving of life strikes me as unnecessarily mean-spirited. I've mentioned this before.

But be that as it may, accidents committed in drink clearly don't qualify. Many intelligent people have made some very stupid decisions when they've had a bit much of the stuff. I don't mind putting my hand up to making a few questionable choices in that state myself.

07-25-2010, 11:58 AM
I know it's messed up, but it really doesn't bother me when trains kill people. It's a train, if a train can sneak up on you and surprise you then you might as well die falling down the stairs, or forgetting to eat (or breathe) or something incredibly inane like that.

I showed up at work (we had a huge front window with a view of the train tracks) about an hour after a woman had killed herself via train. A whole family eating lunch got to witness it, and while I didn't actually see anything when I got there, there were two tarps laid out covering body parts and they were a good distance apart. I try to be comfortable with bodies, but I can't imagine being completely comfortable with that scene.

07-25-2010, 02:15 PM
In this incident, I feel worse for the conductor (the real one, not Darwin) than I do the victim. That guy has to live with the fact that he killed someone, regardless of him not being at fault. It'll still likely haunt him for years.

My friend was in a head on collision with a drunk. She swerved across the grass median in a little compact car and rammed his Ford Expedition head on. He basically drove right over her killing her instantly. It fvcked him up for years despite it being completely not his fault.

07-25-2010, 04:03 PM
I once saw a guy, a jumper. The poor guy hung from the hook in the front of the train, speared in his lower back. His leg was 200 yards back. I slapped myself afterwards for being stupid enough to go watching, awful sight.

I have also been in two trains that hit someone. The first time It was a woman on a bike, nothing left of her. The second time it was a car. All you could tell was that it had been a red car.

07-26-2010, 02:22 AM
In this incident, I feel worse for the conductor (the real one, not Darwin) than I do the victim. That guy has to live with the fact that he killed someone, regardless of him not being at fault. It'll still likely haunt him for years.

It's pretty messed up. They slam on the brakes knowing full well it's not going to do any good maybe hoping it buys the victim just enough time to get clear. Then the entirely predictable result is an up front view of a catastrophe.

07-26-2010, 01:31 PM
Yeah, companies that have trains (be it freight, passenger or subway) spend a lot of money on the issue of addressing fatalities. In fact, when training drivers, it is a clearly stated inevitability that they will hit people in their career. It's obvously emphasized that the hit will not be their fault and they will not be able to stop it from occuring, but that doesn't negate the terrible impact that the event will have on their psychological health, and the impact that will have on their ability to work, let alone sleep...