TIME Crime

Nebraska Police Officer Gunned Down Hours Before Her Maternity Leave Begins

This photo provided by the Omaha Police Department shows officer Kerrie Orozco.
Omaha Police Department/AP This photo provided by the Omaha Police Department shows officer Kerrie Orozco.

Kerrie Orozco, 29, had delivered a premature baby girl in February

Omaha cop Kerrie Orozco had put off starting maternity leave until her premature baby girl could come home from the hospital. Just hours before bringing her daughter home and taking the long-awaited leave, Orozco was gunned down on the job by a suspect.

“A life taken too soon,” Omaha Police Department said on their Facebook page, adding that the seven-year veteran of the force was “not only a top notch police officer but she gave back to the community in so many ways.”

The 29-year-old Orozco delivered Olivia Ruth early in February. The baby girl stayed in the hospital for…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME Accident

Marines: 1 Killed, 21 Taken to Hospitals After Hard Landing

Debris rises as a Marine Corps Osprey aircraft, not pictured, makes a hard landing on Bellows Air Force Station near Waimanalo, Hawaii on May 17, 2015.
Kimberly Hynd—AP Debris rises as a Marine Corps Osprey aircraft, not pictured, makes a hard landing on Bellows Air Force Station near Waimanalo, Hawaii on May 17, 2015.

One Marine was killed and 21 people were sent to the hospital

(HONOLULU) — A Marine Corps Osprey aircraft made a hard landing in Hawaii on Sunday, killing one Marine and sending 21 other people to hospitals as dark smoke from the resulting fire billowed into the sky.

The injuries ranged from critical to minor, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific spokesman Capt. Alex Lim said.

The tilt-rotor MV-22 Osprey, which can take off and land like a helicopter but flies like an airplane, had a “hard-landing mishap” at about 11:40 a.m., the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit said in a statement.

The cause of the crash was under investigation, Lim said.

Twenty-two people were aboard the aircraft, including 21 Marines and one Navy corpsman assigned to the unit, spokesman Capt. Brian Block said in an email.

The 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit is based at Camp Pendleton in California and is in Hawaii for about a week for training. The Osprey was being used for training at Bellows Air Force Station on Oahu at the time of the hard landing.

Kimberly Hynd said she was hiking the popular Lanikai Pillbox Trail and could see three Osprey aircraft performing maneuvers from her vantage point in the hills above Bellows. She noticed them kicking up dirt but then saw smoke and fire. Hynd, who estimated she was 2 to 3 miles away, didn’t hear the sound of a large crash.

“It looked like they were doing some sort of maneuver or formation — and so I was taking pictures of it because usually you can’t see them that close up,” Hynd said.

Donald Gahit said he saw smoke rising in the air from Bellows when he looked outside his house after hearing sirens pass by.

“At first I thought it was clouds, but it was moving fast and it was pretty dark,” the Waimanalo resident said.

Ospreys may be equipped with radar, lasers and a missile defense system. Each can carry 24 Marines into combat.

Built by Boeing Co. and Bell, a unit of Textron Inc., the Osprey program was nearly scrapped after a history of mechanical failures and two test crashes that killed 23 Marines in 2000.

The aircraft have since been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Some Osprey are also helping with earthquake relief efforts in Nepal.

TIME Accident

Engineer in Amtrak Derailment Didn’t Tell Dispatchers Train Had Been Struck: NTSB

File photo of the derailed Amtrak train in Philadelphia Pennsylvania
Lucas Jackson—Reuters Emergency workers look through the remains of a derailed Amtrak train in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in this May 13, 2015 file photo

The engineer has told investigators he doesn't remember what happened leading up to the crash

The engineer at the center of the deadly derailment in Philadelphia last week made no mention to dispatchers that the Amtrak train was possibly struck by a foreign object, a lead investigator said Sunday.

“We interviewed the dispatchers and we listened to the dispatch tape, and we heard no communications at all from the Amtrak engineer to the dispatch center to say that something had struck his train,” National Transportation Safety Board investigator Robert Sumwalt said on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Sumwalt told CNN the same thing. But Sumwalt said the NTSB and FBI “see a mark on the windshield that we want to look at.”

Read this story in full from our partners at NBC News.com

TIME New York

No Charges Against Engineer Who Caused Deadly NYC Derailment

In this Dec. 1, 2013, file photo, a police officer stands guard at the scene of a commuter train derailment in the Bronx borough of New York
John Minchillo—AP A police officer stands guard at the scene of a commuter-train derailment in the Bronx borough of New York City on Dec. 1, 2013

"There was no criminality in the act, therefore no criminal charges"

(NEW YORK) — No criminal charges will be brought against the engineer who fell asleep at the controls of a New York City commuter train in 2013, leading to a derailment that killed four people, prosecutors said Thursday.

The National Transportation Safety Board concluded last year that the Metro-North Railroad engineer, William Rockefeller, nodded off because he suffered from an undiagnosed sleep disorder and had a drastic shift in his work schedule.

“There was no criminality in the act, therefore no criminal charges,” said Terry Raskyn, spokeswoman for Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson. She said Johnson had decided several months ago not to bring charges.

The decision was made public in the midst of an investigation into a similar railway accident, the derailment of an Amtrak train in Philadelphia that killed eight people this week.

Rockefeller’s lawyer, Jeffrey Chartier, said the district attorney “came to the only logical conclusion, which is the same as the NTSB — which is that there’s no criminality on the part of Mr. Rockefeller. It was simply a tragic accident.”

He said Rockefeller is struggling with post-traumatic stress stemming from the crash and is unable to work.

“It’s something that haunts him every day, and I’m hoping the public acknowledgement that he didn’t do anything wrong will be some healing and closure for him,” Chartier said. “His heart is still broken for all those people who were affected by this.”

The dead were Kisook Ahn, a nurse returning home to New York City from an overnight shift in Ossining; Jim Lovell, a “Today” show lighting technician on his way to work on the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree; Donna Smith, a paralegal heading into the city to hear her sister sing Handel’s “Messiah” with a choral group; and James Ferrari, a building maintenance worker putting his daughter through college.

Calls to several survivors of the victims were not immediately returned.

In the crash Dec. 1, 2013, Rockefeller’s train was headed for Grand Central Terminal from Poughkeepsie when it derailed as it hit a curve in the Bronx at 82 mph, the federal investigators said. The speed limit on the turn was 30 mph. In addition to the four people killed, more than 70 were injured.

Rockefeller told investigators that right before the crash, “it was sort of like I was dazed, you know, looking straight ahead, almost like mesmerized.” He said he was roused only when he sensed “something wasn’t right” with the train and threw on the emergency brake.

After testing, the NTSB concluded he had undiagnosed sleep apnea, which robs its victims of rest because they are repeatedly awakened as their airway closes and their breathing stops. The NTSB said Rockefeller’s apnea interrupted his sleep dozens of times each night.

The board recommended better screening for sleep disorders in engineers.

Chartier said New York allows for charging someone who knowingly or recklessly disregards a risk or fails to perceive one when a reasonable person would. But “none of that existed in this case” because Rockefeller didn’t know of his condition, Chartier said. “He couldn’t be held responsible for something he had no knowledge of.”

Meanwhile, investigators are trying to determine why the Amtrak train that crashed in Philadelphia on Tuesday night was careering through the city at 106 mph before it ran off the rails.

Associated Press Writer Jim Fitzgerald in White Plains, New York, contributed to this report.

TIME Accident

Massachusetts Man Calls 911 After Leaving His Baby in a Car

He will not face charges and the baby was found safe

A man in Massachusetts frantically dialed 911 on Wednesday after he had already boarded a train to let authorities know he forgot his baby daughter was in the back of his car.

The father had dropped off his older child at daycare and then boarded a T train at the North Quincy station, 7News reports. A half hour later, realizing his mistake, he contacted an emergency dispatcher, who contacted police to sent to officers that would find the vehicle.

“While this was one of the worst days of my life, I know that we were also very fortunate as it was a mild temperate day and I had come to my senses before too long,” the man said in a statement. NBC News reports the child was “never in distress” and was later turned over to her mother. The man will not face charges for leaving the child in the car.

[7News]

TIME Accident

How the Amtrak Crash Is Hurting the U.S. Economy

East Coast Amtrak Train Service Disrupted After Derailment Of Train In Philadelphia Enroute From D.C. To New York City
Andrew Burton—Getty Images Passengers wait for a bus from New York to Washington D.C. on Wednesday in New York City after an Amtrak train crash in Philadelphia forced train service to be suspended between New York, Philadelphia and Washington D.C.

Could be costing $100 million a day in lost productivity

Stephen Mullin, president of a Philadelphia consulting firm, arrived at Boston’s South Station on Wednesday morning for what should have been a typical five-and-a-half hour trip home in the comfort of an Amtrak train. Instead, following Tuesday night’s deadly derailment of a train, Mullin became one of thousands of passengers jumping through hoops to complete what is usually an easy trip. His journey would last more than 9 hours and require travel on three different rail providers, Mullin said Wednesday.

“This is a pretty big hiccup,” said Mullin, who served as Philadelphia’s director of commerce during the 1990s, of the crash’s impact on railroad service across the Northeast Corridor, the stretch of rail between Washington, D.C., and Boston that Amtrak says serves more than 2,200 trains each day. The accident, which left at least seven people dead and more than 200 others injured, happened “right smack dab in the middle of the heaviest use of train commuting in the country.”

All those lost commuter hours come with a hefty price tag. Every day the rail corridor remains closed will cost the U.S. economy nearly $100 million in lost productivity and other related expenses, according to data in a 2014 report from the Northeast Corridor Infrastructure and Operations Advisory Commission.

The region is home to 45 million people and, with hubs of finance, media, education and government, has an economic output greater than France and just behind Germany. Every day, 750,000 people travel some stretch of the 400-mile route on Amtrak and eight commuter railroads, and more than half of the people traveling between metropolitan areas within the Northeast corridor use Amtrak.

While Tuesday’s crash did not close the entire pathway, it has left Amtrak’s busiest stretch between Philadelphia and New York City out of service for the foreseeable future. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said “there is no circumstance under which there would be any Amtrak service this week through Philadelphia.”

As of Wednesday night, all but two of the train’s cars had been removed. Amtrak said in a statement that it would not operate between the two cities on Thursday, but that New Jersey Transit would honor Amtrak tickets between Trenton and New York City. But it’s not just commuters who will be affected; the tracks are also shared by four freight railroads and play a vital role connecting East Coast ports with industrial centers in the Midwest.

Amtrak did not reply to an inquiry about when full service may be restored. Robert Sumwalt, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board, said in a news conference Wednesday that investigators could be at the crash site for about a week.

But while the crash will certainly have an impact on the economy, its significance should fade shortly, Mullin said, adding that most business can be put on hold if necessary and passengers can hop on a plane or drive if they really need to get somewhere quickly.

“If there was something that shut down like transatlantic flights where the only alternative is taking a boat,” he added, “there would be a bigger impact, but here there are alternatives.”

TIME Accident

You Asked: How Safe Is Train Travel?

A total of 13 people died in Amtrak accidents in 2014

The Amtrak train crash outside Philadelphia, which left at least seven people dead, may have you thinking twice about the safety of train travel.

And in fact, research shows that trains are less safe than some other forms of long-distance transportation in the U.S., including commercial air travel, which is the safest.

A 2013 study published in the journal Research in Transportation Economics found that commercial air travel has just .07 fatalities per billion passenger miles. The study, which examined data from 2000 to 2009, didn’t include acts of suicide or terrorism. If you’re still concerned about the few accidents that contributed to that figure, it’s worth noting that there hasn’t been a fatal commercial airline crash in the U.S. since 2009.

Despite some high-profile accidents, bus travel ranks as the second safest form of long-distance travel, with only 0.11 fatalities per billion passenger-miles, the study found. Long-haul passenger train service is nearly four times as dangerous, with 0.43 fatalities per billion passenger miles. A total of 13 people died during Amtrak accidents in 2014, according to data from the Federal Railroad Administration.

Car accidents are the most dangerous method of transportation by a large margin, with drivers or passengers in cars facing a fatality risk of 7.3 per billion passenger miles. More than 30,000 people died in car crashes in the U.S. in 2014.

TIME Accident

Amtrak Train Crash Survivors Describe Chaotic Scene

Rescue workers climb into the wreckage of a derailed Amtrak train to search for victims in Philadelphia on May 12, 2015.
Bryan Woolston—Reuters Rescue workers climb into the wreckage of a derailed Amtrak train to search for victims in Philadelphia on May 12, 2015.

"Cell phones were flying, laptops were flying. These two women were catapulted into the luggage rack"

Survivors of Tuesday’s deadly Amtrak crash described a chaotic scene, with people and possessions hurled into the air as the train derailed outside of Philadelphia.

“The next thing you know, the train starts doing funny things, and it gradually starts getting worse and worse,” crash survivor Jeremy Wladis said on CNN. “Things started flying… Cell phones were flying, laptops were flying. These two women were catapulted into the luggage rack.”

Wladis, who was seated toward the rear of the train, emerged following the crash and could immediately tell that cars near the front were in worse shape. He helped others evacuate, including an elderly blind man. “It was just complete chaos,” he told CNN.

Max Helfman, 19, of Watchung, N.J., said he grabbed his mother to keep her from falling.

“People were thrown to the ground,” Helfman told NBC Philadelphia. “Chairs inside the train became unscrewed and suitcases were falling on people. My mother flew into me and I literally had to catch her. People were bleeding from their head. It was awful.”

Beth Davidz, another passenger, said she was lucky to have left the second car, typically the “quiet car,” to take a phone call when the crash occurred. The second car appeared to be the most damaged from footage that emerged following the crash. “As soon as we were on the top, you see those first two cars, you kind of knew there was going to be a death toll just looking at it,” she told CNN of the moment she evacuated the train.

Other survivors, who documented the crash on Twitter, described tragedy and heroism at the site.

TIME Accident

Survivor’s Tweet About Violin Lost in Amtrak Crash Sparks Outrage

Violinist had asked Amtrak to look for her missing violin

Survivors of tragedies like Tuesday’s Amtrak train derailment usually elicit messages of sympathy—but instead, crash survivor Jennifer Kim is being mocked for complaining about her lost violin.

“Thanks a lot for derailing my train,” she tweeted at Amtrak through her account @vinoviolin, according to reports. “Can I please get my violin back from the 2nd car of the train?”

The tweet, as well as Kim’s entire Twitter account, was deleted after sparking criticism from Twitter users.

But many others were more inclined to cut her some slack given that she had just survived a deadly train crash.

https://twitter.com/search?q=vino%20violin&src=tyah

Kim did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday morning.

TIME Accident

How the Amtrak Derailment Is Affecting East Coast Travel

The Amtrak derailment cut off all direct rail service between Philadelphia and New York City

The derailment of an Amtrak train late Tuesday in Philadelphia left at least six people dead and created chaos on the heavily traveled Northeast corridor Wednesday morning, cutting off all direct rail service between Philadelphia and New York City and causing delays elsewhere.

All Amtrak travel between New York City and Philadelphia has been canceled until further notice. Passengers can travel with their Amtrak tickets on New Jersey Transit’s service between New York City and Trenton, N.J., which is located about 40 mi (64 km) from Philadelphia. But trains are not available between Trenton and Philadelphia, because Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA) has suspended rail service on that line. Additionally, New Jersey Transit’s service to Atlantic City from Philadelphia has also been suspended.

For passengers traveling elsewhere on the Northeast corridor, Amtrak is operating a modified schedule. Service continues between Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia, and New York City and Boston, but passengers should check with Amtrak to confirm their train is still running. As of early Wednesday morning, only three trains appeared to be running as scheduled between Washington and Philadelphia. A dozen were canceled and many more were listed as “status currently unavailable,” according to Amtrak’s website. The Boston-to-New York City route appeared to have a similar number of trains operating.

Amtrak has offered no indication of when regular service would be restored.

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