By Walt Hunter
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — SEPTA has now released, for the first time, a series of pictures showing damage to one of its trains pelted by a hail of rocks as it traveled through North Philadelphia on the evening of May 12,2015.
Minutes later, the NTSB has ruled, the engineer of Amtrak train #188, passing on an adjoining track, likely was distracted by radio messages about the incident, causing a loss of “situational awareness”, the train accelerating into the Frankford Curve at 106 miles an hour, the wreck killing 8 and injuring 186.
The photos show interior pictures of the engineer’s compartment filled with shattered glass, and also show where a rock struck windows in the passenger compartment. Fortunately, SEPTA Police Chief Tom Nestel says no one was seriously hurt.
While the rocks thrower or throwers were never caught, Chief Nestel advises his officers are targeting areas of rock attacks for special patrols and anyone caught, even juveniles, could face as much as 2 ½ to 5 years behind bars upon conviction.
Nestel says he believes while the actual number of reported rock attacks is low, it’s because unless the rocks hit or shatter a window, most people assume it’s noise from the train and don’t report it.
The Chief says his officers meet with children in schools to talk about how dangerous rock throwing is and he urged parents to deliver that message to their children.