Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Angry Judge Locks Up 2 Teens in Derailment

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Angry Judge Locks Up 2 Teens in Derailment

Article excerpt

A Jacksonville judge angrily refused to follow a state agency's

advice yesterday and temporarily locked up two teens accused of

causing an $800,000 train derailment.

Circuit Judge A.C. Soud Jr. said he was outraged that Florida

Department of Juvenile Justice staffers rated the Nov. 30

sabotage as so inconsequential that the 15-and 16-year-old

suspects didn't need to be held in a secure detention center.

The juvenile court judge said he suspected officials were

reluctant to add more kids to the already over-crowded Duval

Regional Juvenile Detention Center. He said he would "totally

disregard" their assessment of the teens as "low-risk" because

whoever sabotaged the track had "total disregard for human


The derailment occurred in Riverside when someone tampered with

a locked switching box and diverted a southbound freight train

onto a side track leading to a vacant dairy. Two 400,000-pound

CSX Transportation engines pulling a 90-car coal train crashed

into the former Flav-O-Rich dairy on College Street.

The two locomotives and seven cars derailed just north of

the tracks' intersection with the 900 block of Willowbranch


A CSX engineer and conductor received minor injuries, but the

derailment could have been tragic, had it happened 20 minutes

later or three hours earlier, said Tim Easley, a railroad police

special agent employed by CSX.

An Amtrak passenger train had traveled the tracks three hours

before the 6:30 p.m. derailment, and another passenger train was

scheduled to pass there 20 minutes later. That train was

rerouted, he testified yesterday.

Maurice Kirk, 16, and William Redding, 15, were arrested after

a witness said he saw the boys running from the tracks. Officers

testified yesterday they taped an incriminating conversation the

boys had after they were placed in a police car. …

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