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In an interview with Ohio’s Dayton Daily News, BLET National Secretary-Treasurer David Estes discussed the psychological trauma that locomotive engineers endure when they are involved in fatal pedestrian or vehicle incidents. It is an all-too-familiar scenario for engineers, but the newspaper examined the issue after the city experienced five grade crossing fatalities from March 3-April 8, 2024.

While working as a locomotive engineer along Amtrak’s Cascades route for over 20 years in the Pacific Northwest, Estes endured numerous fatal pedestrian and vehicle strikes.

He told the Daily News: “You feel the impact and you pretty much know what’s (happened). You’ve done everything you can do. You sit there and it’s a helpless feeling. You wait for the authorities to show up to confirm what you already know. When you have a multiple fatality (incident) in a vehicle strike it’s really horrific on the crew and the first responders.”

While with Amtrak, Brother Estes provided local peer counselor support for fellow engineers involved in trespasser strikes. Additionally, as an instructor engineer, he did his best to mentally prepare student engineers for the inevitable likelihood of a trespasser strike.

The full story is on the Dayton Daily News website.