IN THE LINE OF DUTY
T.O. "Tom" Landris
A head-on collision outside of Detroit on November 15 left two members of one train crew dead and two members of the other crew injured.
BLE Division 650 (Durand, Mich.) member T.O. "Tom" Landris and conductor Gary Chase, a UTU member, were killed in the Springfield Township, Mich. crash. Their train, number 243, was traveling from Flat Rock, Mich. to Flint, Mich.
BLE Division 812 (Detroit) member A.M. Yash and conductor Jesse Enriquez are in critical condition at a Detroit area hospital. They were traveling from Durand to Detroit on train number 533.
Train number 533 was pulling into a siding to allow train number 243 to pass when the collision occurred. The cause is not yet known.
BLE International President Don M. Hahs sent his deepest condolences to the members of the families and wished a speedy recovery to those injured.
"These accidents are extremely traumatic for all BLE members," said Hahs. "My condolences go out to the families affected by the tragedy and all the brothers and sisters on the Grand Trunk Western Railroad."
The fiery crash forced a five-hour evacuation of 100 homes in the rural area. Firefighters and hazardous-materials crews doused the blaze.
The BLE has sent a member of its Safety Task Force to the site in order to assist the National Transportation Safety Board with the investigation. The Safety Task Force works under the direction on the NTSB in circumstances such as these in order to discover the cause of accidents and to prevent future accidents.
Brother Landris, 49, joined the BLE in 1974. Brother Yash has been a BLE member for 30 years and is 52 years old.
Brother Landris is the third BLE member killed in the line of duty this year, and the 24th since 1996.
Shortly after the November 15 tragedy, which took the life of Brother Landris, President Hahs instituted a new policy requiring that the BLE flag atop the ID Headquarters in downtown Cleveland be flown at half staff following the death of a BLE member in the line of duty.
© 2001 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers