2 charged after Indiana rail bridge close call

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Prosecutors filed criminal charges Monday against two women who they say were caught on video surviving a close call with a freight train while walking across a trestle 80 feet high in southern Indiana.

Misdemeanor railroad trespassing charges were filed in Indiana’s Monroe County Circuit Court against Stacey June Smith, 37, of Bloomington and Wendy Gayle Timothy, 34, of Pensacola, Florida.

“We received the case this morning from the sheriff’s office. We reviewed it and determined that charges were appropriate,” Monroe County Deputy Prosecutor Jeff Kehr told The Herald-Times.

A video shows two women on a bridge over Lake Lemon northeast of Bloomington on July 10 as the 100-car coal train weighing 14,000 tons bears down on them. The engineer activated the train’s emergency brakes when he saw the women, who first began to run and then lay down on the tracks moments before the train passed over them with just 10 inches of clearance, according to the newspaper.

Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Troy Thomas said officers tracked the women down from a Florida license plate on the vehicle in which they fled the scene on the morning of July 10.

Detective Jennifer Allen said Timothy acknowledged the two had been on the trestle taking photographs that morning, but no camera was found at the scene.

“We have been unable to verify that is what they were doing. But they were running for their lives, so they may have dropped anything like that,” Thomas said.

The two will be summoned to appear in court. If convicted, they could face six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Court records showed neither had an attorney. A telephone message seeking comment was left for Timothy. Smith doesn’t have a published telephone listing.

Indiana Rail Road Co. told the newspaper that trespassing on rail tracks, which are private property, resulted in 38 deaths in Indiana last year.

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