Mile 58 has a bumpy history Inspectors had reported problems with the track on four separate occasions


News staff writer

April 5

Susan Corriker's Amtrak journey from her home in Staples, Minn. to the baby shower her mom was throwing for her in Vancouver, Wash., was only supposed to last 32 hours.

It ended up lasting 58 hours because the Empire Builder on which Corriker and her companion, Jose Bucio, were riding derailed at 9:40 Sunday morning in Home Valley, Wash., a half-hour from their destination and a few miles east of Stevenson.

Twenty-seven people were treated for injuries they sustained in the derailment, including Corriker and Bucio, whom an ambulance transported to Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital. A helicopter flew one passenger to Legacy Emanual Hospital and Health Center in Portland. He had reportedly sustained serious injuries.

Bucio suffered what his emergency doctor initially thought was a broken shoulder.

“But when he looked at it again he realized I had just hurt it,” Bucio said.

Corriker, who is 26 weeks pregnant, complained of a pain in her lower abdomen. Worried that the train wreck might have ripped her placenta, her doctors kept her at Providence overnight for observation.

“Everything seems to be fine,” she said.

The five-car train was carrying 114 passengers and crew members from Spokane.

“We were just saying we should be there in a half-hour,” Corriker said. “Then the train started going everywhere.

We were just sitting there and it felt like we hit something. It started swaying, side-to-side. It was tipping and throwing people around. It threw me into the chair next to me. It threw Jose around. Everybody got thrown around, except this one, old lady, who just sat there. And when it was done, she said 'Ooh. That was fun.'

“I told her she was crazy.”

Corriker and Bucio caught the first and only ambulance ride to PHRMH.

PHRMH responded to the train wreck by staffing their emergency room.

“We were on full stand-by,” said Barbara Young, spokesperson for PHRMH. “But we only got the two patients.”

The immediate response to the derailment transformed mile 58 on Highway 14 into a road block constructed with flashing ambulances, fire engines, law enforcement vehicles and a school bus, which transported the uninjured to Wind River Middle School.

Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) set up triage there; investigators searched the shredded tracks for explanations of the derailment and firefighters from several counties in two different states gathered to help extricate the wounded inside the five-car train.

Keith Holloway, public information officer for the National Transportation Safety Board, confirmed Tuesday that Burlington Northern Sante Fe and federal track inspectors had reported problems with that section of rail on four separate occasions within the last three weeks.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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