Railroad Workers Killed In Sunday's Head-On Collision Identified

Aug 18, 2014

NTSB Investigator Mike Flanigon removes the event recorder from one of the locomotives involved in Sunday's crash.
Credit NTSB

The two Union Pacific crew members who were killed after two freight trains collided head on early Sunday have been identified.

Railroad spokesman Jeff DeGraff says engineer Chance Gober of White Hall, Arkansas, and conductor Roderick Hayes, of McKinney, Texas, died in the crash. DeGraff says both were in the train traveling southbound and died of their injuries. DeGraff says two other employees were injured.

Sunday's collision happened about 3 a.m. in Hoxie, a small town about 90 miles northwest of Memphis, Tennessee. A resulting fire took about seven hours to extinguish.

Meanwhile a transportation expert says the accident proves more needs to be done to improve safety, but worries implementing changes is likely to take longer than a federal deadline.

Joseph Schwieterman, transportation professor at DePaul University in Chicago, says the government possibly set an unrealistic timetable to have a new safety system in place by Dec. 31, 2015.

The big push for the safeguards, known as positive train control, came after the 2008 crash in which a commuter train collided head-on with a freight train near Los Angeles, killing 25 and injuring more than 100.