August 23, 2012

"Drinking on top of the Ellicott City sign."

Tweeted — a last tweet — along with a pic of "bare feet dangling over the edge of the bridge as they sat just above the words 'Ellicott City,' painted on the side of the bridge that is a portal to the community."

18 comments:

gadfly said...

In The WaPo comments:


JJames081
12:19 PM EDT
Coal KILLS in more ways than one!


Ignorance to be sure. When we count the lives saved by the heat from coal over the centuries, this is a comment wrought from the screeches of today's psuedo-science freaks.

wef said...

Of local interest in Howard county:

http://www.wbaltv.com/news/maryland/howard-county/-/10137848/16206896/-/9025uk/-/index.html

Bryan C said...

This is a hot topic on the local news. The bridge is only incidentally a "portal to the community." First and foremost it's an active railroad freight line, and not a safe place to hang out with a friend. A foolhardy decision compounded by terrible bad luck.

RonF said...

"The crew members also told police that they never saw the two women sitting on the bridge beside the tracks, Southworth said. The fact that they were not in the path of the train and that the engineers neither saw them nor applied the locomotive’s brakes suggests they were innocent victims."

When you die because of your own stupidity it's hard to view you as a victim.

Christy said...

Ellicott City is a quaint hippie artsy shopping mecca in the Baltimore Washington Corridor. Its zip code has become a bedroom community for D.C. Just to orient you.

wef said...

When you die because of your own stupidity it's hard to view you as a victim.

But they did not die because of their own stupidity. A slow-moving train derailed - that amazingly did not do more damage and kill more people in a very densely packed area through which the train was rolling. They were in the wrong place at a very wrong chance moment. Look at the wbal link above to see the area - I know it well, and I am surprised that the accident did not result in a worse tragedy.

yashu said...

There's something very eerie and poignant about a "last tweet" (especially before an unexpected death).

Something about the fleeting ephemeral present-tenseness of the tweet (which is also an objective "time" recorded by Twitter, e.g. 1:39PM Aug. 23)-- something about the tweet's existential mood-- makes it very uncanny when juxtaposed with Death.

Like the frisson of every photograph, every one bearing death in it.

I imagine the "last tweet" might become (if it hasn't already) a thing, a kind of genre-- in the way that last photographs, or last letters, or reports of "last words" are.

The Drill SGT said...

wef said...
But they did not die because of their own stupidity


At some level, they were less than smart.

Background. Pop worked for the WPRR for 40 years. Most of it responsible for cleaning up derailments up the Feather Canyon from Sacramento to Elko.

Railroad bridges are very narrow. Lots of folks die, walking across a long trestle and meeting a train before they clear the other end. I expect the bridge was 10 to 12 foot wide, and the tracks take up 5 feet and the cars overhang by a foot on each side. That leaves maybe 2 feet of clearance on each side as the cars go by at 25 mph. Maybe ok, in daylight and sober, but it was neither.

The game they were playing was dangerous.

Then $hit happened, so yeah, they were stupid, played the odds and it came up double zero.

Being around heavy machinery that can eat you in a second, is not something that these young girls had experience with.

alan markus said...

slow-moving train derailed - that amazingly did not do more damage and kill more people in a very densely packed area through which the train was rolling. They were in the wrong place at a very wrong chance moment.

Looked at Google Maps yesterday, and the picture of the coal dumped in the parking lot, I too figured it was more chance luck than stupidity. On the Google Map there are 7 autos approaching. On street view there's a woman with several children walking towards it - if the train had derailed a few yards sooner, it could have easily dumped coal on motorists & pedestrians.

If the women had gotten off the bridge before the train approached and been in the parking lot (looks like a park along the river) they could have just have been easily killed there too.

Also the bridge looks wide - maybe it was double-tracked at one time?

The Drill SGT said...

On street view there's a woman with several children walking towards it - if the train had derailed a few yards sooner, it could have easily dumped coal on motorists & pedestrians.

It was midnight as I understand it

gadfly said...

The Drill SGT said:

I expect the bridge was 10 to 12 foot wide, and the tracks take up 5 feet and the cars overhang by a foot on each side.

Pictures from the scene indicate that the coal car had room to topple sideways with space remaining after the fall. As the article pointed out, the coal spewed out of the car and buried two very pretty girls.

http://www.wbaltv.com/news/maryland/howard-county/-/10137848/16206896/-/9025uk/-/index.html

rhhardin said...

Sixteen tons and deeper in debt.

Lem said...

I would argue that "drinking" put them there.. in the path of their pending doom..

Speaking from experience, often times, drinking has lead me to make very poor decisions.

alan markus said...

Here's a clickable link for the site mentioned previously:
Pictures of train derailment

Lem said...

... clues indicate coal killed women.

I cant believe nobody has called this... Liberal Media dog whistle.

There... I'm on top of the...

wait.

Lem said...

Oh no..

They we buried in coal?

Joe said...

Ellicott City is also the home of Merriweather Post, where the Jackson Browne album "Running on Empty" was recorded live.

I'm familiar - it's 7 miles down Rt. 29 from where I live. I've seen the bridge and it's a very tragic event for the entire community.

The town is not so much a "hippy, artsy, shopping mecca" as Christy put it earlier, but more a retirement community situated halfway between DC and Baltimore. The old town area where this occurred is quaint.

Darrell said...

Too bad the girls didn't see Super 8.