Sunday, October 12, 2014

Last Call For Job Train-ing

It's one thing to swipe the company car or van and go on a joyride and get into a fender bender.  It's another thing entirely when your company handles much larger vehicles, and you decide to go tool around in one of your company's trains.

A jaunt on a stolen train Thursday ended in a crash and possible federal felony charges for the 22-year-old driver.

Derek Skyler Brux was charged Friday with reckless endangering, felony destruction of property and felony destruction, obstruction or removal of railroad track or fixtures after allegedly stealing a train from North Antelope Rochelle mine and driving it south 13 miles before plowing it into another train.

Deputies were called out to the mine at about 8:55 a.m. Thursday.

The incident started when Brux, a utility coal operation for Rail Link, allegedly became upset about his supervisor's response to working conditions, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed in Circuit Court.

The disgruntled employee then unhooked some cars and drove the locomotive around what is described as a “loop” at the site and “pretty much squashed the 'expletive' outta their scales,” Brux said, according to the affidavit.

Brux then called his supervisor and asked her if she wanted to play chicken, the affidavit says. He hung up the phone and then called the rail dispatch, advising personnel there he was going onto the main rail line.

Brux said he estimated he was going 60 mph for about 15 minutes before plowing through switch 1. He told deputies he did not know where he was headed and that he wanted to make Rail Link pay, the affidavit says.

Brux said he headed south on the main line. When asked how fast he was going, the affidavit says he responded that he didn't know if he “quite got up to 70 mph,” but estimated he was going 50 mph for a good part of the trip.

Really glad nobody got hurt here, but seriously, you're going to swipe a train and then call your boss and ask her if she wants to play chicken

Good luck in prison, son.

Another Case For The Wall

One of the health care workers who treated Ebola patient Thomas Duncan has now tested positive for for the disease.

The hospital employee, a woman whom officials did not identify, worked at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, where the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, Thomas Eric Duncan, 42, died last Wednesday. The health care worker reported a low-grade fever Friday night, went to the hospital at some point after that and was immediately admitted and put in isolation, officials said.

The case, following the failure to recognize the Liberian man as a potential Ebola patient when he first sought treatment at the hospital, raises further questions about whether hospitals in the United States are prepared to deal with the disease.

Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a news conference on Sunday that his agency was considering the idea that Ebola patients should be transferred to hospitals with special containment units and experience in treating the disease.

The infection is being considered a breach in treatment precautions: the woman was wearing full CDC-recommended protective gear, but may have touched Duncan's face without gloves when he was covered in blood and his own bodily fluids, and as a result she has become ill.  The other health care workers at the hospital are being kept isolated as a result.

If it was a protocol mistake, then it shows just how ruthless this disease can be.  If it wasn't, and somehow the disease infected the woman anyway, then that is a whole separate virology problem.  The nightmare scenario has long been a strain of Ebola that mutates, evolves, and can be transmitted as an airborne virus.  That would mean massive risk in dealing with it, treating it, and caring for those who contract it.

It's much, much, much more likely that this was a lapse in judgment by the woman who exposed herself to the bodily fluids that were infected.  The latter scenario would be unthinkable.

EDIT: As Rob Wolfe points out in the comments, there's zero chance Ebola goes airborne. That's important because there's a whole lot of fearmongering that says otherwise (especially from the right), and it's irresponsible and wrong.
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