Scott County

Norfolk Southern: There is a 'strong suspicion of tampering' before train derailment

Georgetown police and Norfolk Southern Corp. are investigating the possibility that someone might have caused a rail car to move Monday into the path of a southbound train, an act that led to a collision and derailment.

The collision between the sitting car and the moving train was reported at 6:15 p.m. Monday, said Robin Chapman, a spokesman for Norfolk Southern. No one was injured in the collision.

The car loaded with coiled steel rolled out of AK Steel's yard in Georgetown and onto the main line, Chapman said. A southbound grain train running from Chicago to Valdosta, Ga., collided with the car, causing it to derail.

"Some teenagers were reported in the area shortly before this happened," Chapman said. "There is a strong suspicion of tampering. That's currently under investigation by Norfolk Southern police and local police ... I understand a good description was given of them, so they are currently looking for them."

The lead locomotive of the train was damaged, and it was set aside in Georgetown for repair, Chapman said. The grain train continued on after being delayed for seven or eight hours.

Georgetown police Lt. Phil Halley said there had been a report of some kids in the area of the rail cars, but nobody could definitely say they were on the cars, much less tampering with them. Also, investigators did not get good descriptions of the kids.

"Although that suspicion is there, nothing concrete," Halley said.