What's That Sound?

(2 August 2002, Kansas) Police said an Olathe man was struck and killed by a train after his vehicle broke down on Interstate 35. His attempts at repairing his car had failed, and he had stepped away from the busy freeway to call for help, when the train engineer spotted him standing on the tracks. The engineer said the man was holding a cell phone to one ear, and cupping his hand to the other ear to block the noise of the train.

Authorities are at a loss as to how to prevent train deaths. Long Island, New York locomotive engineers recently formed a support group, as every year-plus veteran without exception has involuntarily killed someone in a grade crossing collision. The baffled engineers wonder how anyone could be so unaware of the laws of physics, which dictate that a train weighing hundreds of tons has too much inertia to stop on a dime -- or even a football field.