Toas Teens Properly Ejected from Amtrak Train No. 4
Here is news story regarding four unaccompanied minors who were "set out," from Train No. 4, early Saturday Morning, in Kingman, AZ. The four Taos teens were enroute, between divorced parents, from Fresno, CA to Taos, NM. Note that this is a follow-up broadcast to Sunday's first broadcast, which was essentially what the printed copy of the story reads. Sorry, I cannot figure out how to access the Sunday's broadcast. Please remember that a Conductor of a passenger train, engaged in interstate commerce, is the final authority on his or her train.
Rest assured that all the proper reports and details have been furnished to Amtrak Police, Kingman Police, and Amtrak management. Also rest assured that Amtrak management and BNSF were properly informed while the incident was taking place, and that the incident was properly documented and completely handled.
It must be understood that the crew involved were NOT the same crew who were the subject of that sensationalized, very, long thread regarding "Amtrak feeds diabetic passenger to wolves," at Williams Jct. It should also be stated that the Conductor involved during this Kingman incident, has twenty nine years railroad experience, and is highly regarded for his tact and diplomacy. I have known him and worked with him, during those years, and will state his decision making and handling of situations is above reproach. His Amtrak personal file is full of complementary letters received from guests. When this Conductor worked Metrolink his regular riders were big fans of his. Those regular Metrolink passengers held a going away party for him, and Christmas parties for him. Some of you know who this Conductor is, but for his privacy, his name will not be included here. He has already, quite, diplomatically handled a direct phone encounter, from the irate father of the Taos teens. (He was under no obligation to speak to the irate father, but was suprised into doing so.) Remember there are some very incompetent, vindictive, self-righteous supervisory people at AMTRAK, who could attempt to use this incident against good veteran employees. Real railroaders will fully understand this. This Conductor has a loving wife, and very adorable toddler to support. If you are too ignorant to accept these facts, please have the courtesy to think before you respond. Please show some restraint and respect.
SOME FACTS and QUESTIONS:
The Taos Teens were NOT "Stranded, alone and hundreds of miles from home..." They were put off in Kingman, AZ. The City Fathers of Kingman which would strongly disagree that Kingman is some, lonely, tiny outpost in the desolate Arizona Desert. The Taos Teens were NOT alone, as they were met by the Kingman Police Dept., and transported to Kingman Police Headquarters. Train No. 4's inbound and outbound crews were on hand also.
The missing ipod and later the cell phone, did turn up, under the control, and in possession of the accused teens. The Taos teen stated on television, he intended to turn the allegedly stolen item over to the conductor. Why did he not do so, when he was asked to come to the ten car, to discuss the matter, along with the Girl Scout Leaders, and other Amtrak trainmen? The "poor stranded," lad's story changed after he was in the custody of the Kingman Police Dept. The "ten car" is the crew dorm which has an office for the trainmen on the lower level. This was done so as not to disturb the sleep of the other coach passengers, and it provided privacy for the discussion.
The Taos teen conveniently forgot that the group of Girl Scouts, from whom the cell phone and ipod went missing, were not seated immediately adjacent to him. It was in fact at his coach seat were the ipod was "discovered" by the 15 year old Taos sister. The item was jammed down in the space between the two coach seats. The Girl Scout Troop had not been sitting in or near those coach seats. Guess what? The cell phone did not Taos or Fresno phone number. The ipod was engraved with the owner's identification. The Girl Scout Leaders stated that they intended to pursue the matter.
The Girl Scouts and their escorts complained that the Taos teens had been inappropriately touching some of the young girls, and loitering about the girls' seats. Remember too that this took place after midnight, when most coach passengers on No.4 are sleeping. The Girl Scouts and their chaperones, who were paying passengers, cannot reasonably expect that they, and their property, would be left untouched while they slept? Why was the punk roaming about the train, after midnight, instead of asleep in his seat, next to his 15 year old sister?
When interviewed prior to the regularly scheduled stop at Kingman, the accused teen was flippant and defiant. This "innocent" teen failed to turn over the missing items in question when given the ample, fair, opportunity to do so. Strange how putting him in front police officers, then a TV camera, changed his attitude to that of "victim."
How many supervisors do you suppose that irate Taos father woke up early that morning, with his less than complimentary phone calls? How many of Amtrak's good employees were verbally abused over the phone, because they were the random representative to take the irate father's calls? The media neglected to point out that the Kingman Police and the Mojave County Sheriff had many officers involved in a man-hunt that morning, looking for an escaped convict. However, "Kicking Taos Teens off Train!" makes for better sound bites, and sensationalized copy. The supervising Kingman Officer, responding to the Amtrak Depot, was less than thrilled to be dealing with juvenile suspects, and wanted to question if Kingman even had jurisdiction. Law Enforcement has other priorities. Does the irate father intend to re-reimburse the taxpayers of Kingman, for the disruption is unaccompanied minors caused?
While under Amtrak regulations the Taos teens were allowed to travel unaccompanied, the fact remains they were four MINORS, who obviously should not be traveling alone. They were deposited at the Fresno Depot, to travel unaccompanied to Taos, New Mexico, by what kind of parents? What about the rights of the other well behaved, paying Amtrak passengers? Train No. 4 took a delay at Kingman, Saturday morning, which delayed all the other paying passengers. If those Taos teens had the capacity to behave on the train, there would have been no need for inconvenience to Amtrak patrons, employees, the police, nor a story to sensationalize in the media. Does anyone reasonably believe that good, dedicated Amtrak trainmen embarked on duty at LAUPT, with the pre-meditated intent to set out four unaccompanied, Taos teens at Kingman?
Hopefully Amtrak management, despite past failings will have the honesty, decency and respect to fight any lawsuits brought by the irate Taos father.