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Longview railroad engineer gets motorist’s view of potential tragedy during rescue

Thursday, May 10, 2012 - 1:11pm

The Longview News Journal reports Longview resident and Union Pacific Railroad locomotive engineer Tom Hellen got a different view of a potential rail accident Monday night.

In the process, the off-duty engineer may have saved the life of an elderly Henderson man. Hellen, a 37-year veteran of working for Southern Pacific and Union Pacific railroads, was driving home from a meeting in Tyler when he saw what appeared to be a car stuck on the tracks.

Hellen slowed down and turned around just past a railroad crossing running parallel to U.S. 259 and Texas 31, just north of the Interstate 20 overpass between Kilgore and Longview.

"I happened to glance right, saw the vehicle and knew that something didn't look right,” he said. “I thought it might have been stuck on the track. I turned around to investigate, and sure enough, an elderly gentleman was in the car, attempting to dislodge it from the track.”

Hellen said he didn’t know how long the car had been there, but there was a cloud of blue tire smoke from the spinning wheels as the driver tried frantically to get off the tracks.

To read more on this article at The Longview News Journal


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