Alabama train engineer indicted in death of worker on rails

Aug 31, 2022, 5:45 PM | Updated: Sep 1, 2022, 5:47 am

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — A train engineer who was allegedly chatting on video when his locomotive struck heavy equipment on the tracks in south Alabama, killing a Mississippi man, was charged with reckless manslaughter in the crash, court documents show.

James Jeffery Elder, 49, of Spanish Fort was indicted last week by Mobile County grand jurors in the death of Dexter Scott of Laurel, Mississippi, WKRG-TV reported.

Elder, who worked for Alabama Export Railroad at the time of the collision, was booked and released on a $75,000 bail. Court records don’t include the name of a defense attorney who could speak on his behalf.

Prichard police said Elder was operating a Canadian National train that collided with equipment that was installing railroad ties on tracks in the town on Nov. 17, 2020.

The train was traveling at 19 mph around a curve when it hit a boom truck, which knocked the backhoe into the workers, killing one contractor and injuring three others, according to an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The engineer was distracted by a video conversation on a personal cellphone while the train was in motion, a violation of federal regulations, the agency found. Minutes before impact, the engineer took off his hat and placed it in front of a surveillance camera, but the man could still be seen holding the phone, said the report.

The indictment accused Elder of “recklessly using a cellular device while operating a locomotive” and going too fast for conditions.

The engineer was fired, and the company took steps that included lowering the speed limit on its tracks, the federal investigation said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Eugene and Linda Lamie, of Homerville, Ga., sit by the grave of their son U.S. Army Sgt. Gene Lamie...

Associated Press

Biden on Memorial Day lauds generations of fallen US troops who ‘dared all and gave all’

President Joe Biden lauded the sacrifice of generations of U.S. troops who died fighting for their country as he marked Memorial Day with the traditional wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

23 hours ago

OpenAI's CEO Sam Altman, the founder of ChatGPT and creator of OpenAI gestures while speaking at Un...

Associated Press

ChatGPT maker downplays fears they could leave Europe over AI rules

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman on Friday downplayed worries that the ChatGPT maker could exit the European Union

2 days ago

File - Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, left, and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman arrive to the White House for a ...

Associated Press

Regulators take aim at AI to protect consumers and workers

As concerns grow over increasingly powerful artificial intelligence systems like ChatGPT, the nation’s financial watchdog says it’s working to ensure that companies follow the law when they’re using AI.

4 days ago

FILE - A security surveillance camera is seen near the Microsoft office building in Beijing, July 2...

Associated Press

Microsoft: State-sponsored Chinese hackers could be laying groundwork for disruption

State-backed Chinese hackers have been targeting U.S. critical infrastructure and could be laying the technical groundwork for the potential disruption of critical communications between the U.S. and Asia during future crises, Microsoft said Wednesday.

5 days ago

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks in the East Room of the White House, May 17, 2023, in Washington....

Associated Press

White House unveils new efforts to guide federal research of AI

The White House on Tuesday announced new efforts to guide federally backed research on artificial intelligence

6 days ago

FILE - The Capitol stands in Washington D.C. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)Credit: ASSOCIATED...

Associated Press

What it would mean for the economy if the US defaults on its debt

If the debt crisis roiling Washington were eventually to send the United States crashing into recession, America’s economy would hardly sink alone.

7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...

Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Alabama train engineer indicted in death of worker on rails