Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak’s Southwest Chief’

Wisconsin Man Charged With Shooting Amtrak Conductor Deemed by Judge to be Mentally Unfit to Stand Trial

October 14, 2017

A Wisconsin man charged with shooting an Amtrak conductor has been ruled to be mentally unfit to stand trial.

Edward Klein, 79, of West Allis, Wisconsin, stands accused of shooting the conductor in Naperville, Illinois, on May 18.

DuPage County Judge Judge Daniel Guerin this week accepted a doctor’s statement that Klein is suffering from a major neurocognitive disorder, possibly Alzheimer’s disease.

One report said that Klein has an impaired cognition disorder and dementia while a second report said he suffers from a major neuro-cognitive disorder. The reports concluded that neither disorder is likely to be cured by medication.

A physician said in one report Klein is not oriented in time, place or situation and would be unable to recall details in his defense. Judge Guerin set a discharge hearing for Dec. 18.

During the hearing prosecutors said Klein could be acquitted, declared not guilty by reason of insanity, or declared not guilty due to being unable to stand trial.

Klein remains in police custody and the court could decide to have him involuntarily committed to a mental facility for up to two years.

Police have said Klein told them he shot Amtrak conductor Michael Case because he would not allow him to disembark in Naperville from the eastbound Southwest Chief.

Klein was ticketed to travel to Milwaukee via Chicago Union Station.

Case was critically injured when he was shot in the abdomen and hospitalized at Edward Hospital for 10 weeks.

Prosecutors have charged Klein with attempted first-degree murder and several weapons charges.

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TIGER Grant Sought for SW Chief Route Upgrades

October 11, 2017

Officials in Colfax County in New Mexico are seeking a TIGER grant to upgrade the tracks used by Amtrak’s Southwest Chief.

If awarded, it would be the third federal grant used to improve the tracks, which are owned by BNSF.

Four state departments of transportation have pledged $1 million each while Amtrak and BNSF have each pledged $3 million in matching funds. Some local governments have also pledged matching funds.

The $25 million project will rebuild tracks within New Mexico. Previous TIGER grants of $25 million and $12 million were used for track work in Kansas and Colorado.

Suspect in Amtrak Shooting May be Unfit for Trial

July 7, 2017

Prosecutors and attorneys representing a Wisconsin man charged in connection with the shooting of an Amtrak conductor have agreed to delay the suspect’s arraignment as officials have indicated that he is likely to be ruled to be mentally unfit to stand trial.

Klein

Edward Klein, 79, of West Allis, Wisconsin, has been charged with attempted murder and aggravated battery in the May 16 shooting of an Amtrak conductor during a station stop in Naperville, Illinois.

The delay in the arraignment will give attorneys in the case more time to review a mental fitness evaluation that Klein recently underwent.

Public defender Jeff York said he will seek a mental fitness hearing for Klein, who is being held on $1.5 million bail in the DuPage County Jail. He will next be in court on July 31.

York contends that Klein is unfit for trail and that his mental health issues may not respond to treatment.

The attorney made the assertion during a proceeding in a late June hearing in DuPage County Court.

Klein was silent during the court hearing and sat in a wheelchair used to transport him from the jail.

Prosecutors have contended that Klein fired at the conductor of Amtrak’s Southwest Chief after Amtrak personnel refused to allow Klein to disembark at Naperville, which is the final stop before Chicago Union Station.

Klein was ticketed to Chicago where he was to make a connection to another Amtrak train to Milwaukee.

News media accounts have quoted officials as saying that Amtrak personnel aboard train No. 4 were concerned about Klein’s behavior during his journey from Kansas City and were keeping watch over him.

Southwest Chief Subject to Delay Due to Track Work

June 29, 2017

Track work being performed between Albuquerque and Lamy, New Mexico, is expected to delay Amtrak’s Southwest Chief through July 22.

In a service advisory, Amtrak No 3 may encounter delays of up to 2.5 hours at all stations west of Lamy while No. 4 may encounter delays of up to two hours east of Albuquerque.

The service advisory said that alternative transportation may be provided to passengers missing connections to Amtrak trains and Thruway buses at Kansas City, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Amtrak Conductor Continues Recovery

June 21, 2017

The Amtrak conductor shot in Naperville, Illinois, last month continues to make steady progress and doctors are optimistic that he will make a full recovery.

Michael Case, 45, remains hospitalized, but has made enough progress that he might not need another surgery that doctors expected to have to perform.

“The bottom line, he should be able to eat, he should be able to function, he should be able to work; we’re a long ways away from that, and his condition although fairly stable, could take a turn,” said Dr. David Piazza, the Medical Director of Trauma Surgery at Edward Hospital.

However, Piazza cautioned that a devastating infection or blood clots, or pneumonia could still hamper Case’s recovery and even take his life.

Piazza said Case faces six to eight weeks of rehab and will eventually have a final surgery in about six to nine months.

Case, a conductor on the inbound Southwest Chief, was shot on May 16 while standing on the platform of the Naperville Metra Station.

Edward Klein, 79, of Wisconsin has been charged in connection with the shooting. Klein is being held on a $1.5 million bond and will appear in court on June 28.

He has been changed with attempted murder and aggravated battery.

Crowds Turn Out for Amtrak Inspection Train

June 13, 2017

Crowds turned out in the communities visited last week by an Amtrak inspection train that was examining a possible expansion route of the Heartland Flyer.

The train operated from Oklahoma City to Kansas City and made stops in Guthrie, Perry, and Ponca City in Oklahoma; and Arkansas City, Wichita, Newton, Emporia, and Topeka in Kansas.

The consist of the train included P40 locomotive No. 822; heritage sleeper Pacific Bend, No. 10020, originally a 10-6 sleeper built by Budd for Union Pacific in 1950; Viewliner sleeper New River, No. 62043; dome-lounge Ocean View, No. 10031, built for Great Northern by Budd in 1955; and inspection car American View, No. 10004, built by Budd as one of the Viewliner prototypes in 1994.

The route covered by the train hosted Amtrak’s Chicago-Houston Lone Star until early October 1979.

Amtrak is studying extending the Heartland Flyer to Newton or to Kansas City. At Newton, the Flyer would connect with the Chicago-Los Angeles Southwest Chief.

Last year a Thruway bus service began between Newton and Oklahoma City.

 

Amtrak to Inspect OKC-Kansas City Route

June 5, 2017

An Amtrak inspection train will operate on June 9 from Oklahoma City to Kansas City, Missouri, as part of a study of expansion of the Heartland Flyer.

The Flyer, which is funded by the states of Oklahoma and Texas, might be extended to Newton, Kansas, to connect with the Chicago-Los Angeles Southwest Chief. Currently, the Heartland Flyer runs between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth, Texas.

The route to be examined is owned by BNSF and until early October 1979 hosted Amtrak’s Chicago-Houston Lone Star.

The inspection train is scheduled to depart from Oklahoma City at 7:45 a.m. and reach Kansas City at 5:30 p.m. It will pass through the Oklahoma cities of Guthrie, Perry, Ponca City and Ark City; and the Kansas cities of Wichita, Newton, Emporia and Topeka. The train will pause briefly in each of these cities.

Red Tape Delaying Fort Madison Station Move

June 2, 2017

Red tape keeps holding back the movement of Amtrak to the former Santa Fe station in Fort Madison, Iowa.

Amtrak said it is waiting for documents from the Fort Madison City Council. The city council in turn has said it is waiting for approval of the documents from the Iowa Department of Transportation.

However, Fort Madison City Manager David Varley, the process may seem bewildering but it will ensure that the move can be made without any problems. He said, though, that it will be a long process.

“The only update we have is that we just asked for an update,” Varley said. “We had to add some wording in a contract and wanted to get it approved by IDOT, because if we approved it and Amtrak approved it and we sent it to IDOT and said the wording wasn’t quite right we would have to work on it again.”

Varley said he has heard from Amtrak officials, who asked when the contracts would be ready.

“I think they are ready and willing to get going as long as IDOT approves it,” Varley said. “So we are just waiting for approval from IDOT. Then we will take the contracts and put them in agreements with Amtrak and BNSF and we will bring them to city council for approval.”

Once all the approvals are given then IDOT place the project on a bidding calendar.

Varley said he has been told this is the last set of documents the city will have to provide before a final bid date is set.

Fort Madison is the only Iowa station served by the Chicago-Los Angeles Southwest Chief.

Amtrak Conductor Facing Long Road to Recovery

June 2, 2017

The Amtrak conductor shot last month on the station platform in Naperville, Illinois, remains hospitalized in stable, but critical condition, officials said this week.

Michael Case, 45, of Homewood, Illinois, underwent another surgery this week and a doctor said he may have to have future operations.

Dr. David Piazza, medical director of trauma surgery at Edward Hospital in Naperville, said Case faces a “long hard slog” as he recovers from a bullet wound to his abdomen.

“He’s going to be out of commission for six to nine months,” Piazza said at a news conference, referring to when Case will be able to leave the hospital.

Piazza said the bullet went through Case’s abdomen, penetrating his intestine, including a portion right below the stomach. Also damaged was the head of his pancreas.

Doctors also had to remove Case’s colon. “This is a very significant area to be injured,” Piazza said. “A lot of things come together at this site, including the contents from the stomach, the bile from the liver and the fluid from the pancreas.”

Case has been able to eat green gelatin and clear liquids, including ginger ale.

A 79-year-old Wisconsin man, Edward Klein, has been charged with attempted murder in connection with the shooting.

Klein is being held at the DuPage County jail in lieu of $1.5 million bail and has been ordered by a judge to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

Prosecutors said Klein had become angry when Amtrak personnel would not let him disembark at Naperville. Klein was traveling on the Southwest Chief to Chicago from Kansas City.

Amtrak personnel aboard the train had become concerned with Klein’s behavior and well-being, hence their refusal to let him get off before Chicago Union Station.

Piazza said Case has been a good patient, describing him as pleasant, laid back and very conversive.

Several crowd-funding sites, such as GoFundMe, have been established to help Case and his family with medical and other expenses.

Illinois Judge Orders Mental Health Evaluation of Suspect Charged in Shooting of Amtrak Conductor in Naperville

May 26, 2017

An Illinois judge on Thursday ordered a suspect in the shooting of an Amtrak conductor to receive a mental health evaluation.

DuPage County judge Daniel Guerin made the ruling in granting a motion from a defense attorney representing Edward Klein, who is charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault.

Klein, 79, of West Allis, Wisconsin, is charged in connection with the shooting of Michael Case of Homewood, Illinois, as he worked on the platform at Naperville, Illinois, after the eastbound Southwest Chief came to a halt there.

Case, who remains hospitalized, was shot once in the abdomen during the May 16 shooting.

Prosecutors have said in court filings that Klein became angry when he was denied permission to disembark from the train in Naperville rather than continue to Chicago Union Station as he was ticketed.

Amtrak personnel kept the door of the car in which Klein was riding closed to prevent him from disembarking because they were concerned about his welfare.

Some passengers have told reporters that Klein was exhibiting disturbing behavior before the train reached Naperville and that he had caused a disturbance in Kansas City, when Train No. 4 was late in arriving at the station there.

A news report indicated that during a May 19 court hearing, Klein seemed unable to grasp the severity of the situation.

He said several times that he was leaving the next day and said he would not need the public defender to represent him because he would soon be leaving.

During the Thursday hearing, Klein spoke several times, telling the judge at one point that he had an appointment.

Judge Guerin, though, ordered the public defender’s office to represent Klein, who is being held in lieu of $1.5 million bail.

“After meeting with our client, we had immediate concerns about his fitness to stand trial,” said Assistant Public Defender Jennifer Maples.

Klein could be sent to a security facility if he is found mentally unfit. He might be sent to Elgin Mental Health Center, to receive treatment.

If doctors later determine that he is mentally fit, the criminal court proceedings against Klein would continue.

Klein is a former officer with the Federal Protective Service, which is overseen by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. His next court date has been set for late June.