April 6, 2020 | Susan Napier-Sewell

Engineer Intentionally Derails High-Speed Locomotive Near USNS Mercy Amid COVID-19

Train engineer intentionally crashes locomotive at high speed near USNS Mercy Hospital Ship amid COVID-19

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A train engineer, Eduardo Moreno, 44, was driving a Pacific Harbor Line locomotive at high speed on April 1, 2020, when he intentionally drove off the track at the Port of Los Angeles near the USNS Mercy. The Mercy is a hospital ship currently providing relief to hospitals in the Los Angeles area during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) cited the FBI as it described that Moreno admitted to crashing the train, convinced the Mercy “had an alternate purpose related to COVID-19 or a government takeover. . . .” “People could see for themselves,” an affidavit quoted Moreno as saying in an interview with FBI agents, adding that he wanted to “wake people up.”

What happened

The train engineer purposely drove the Pacific Harbor Line locomotive at top speed on an apparent whim to damage or sink the humanitarian USNS Mercy by ramming it. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer who witnessed the incident recalled watching “the train smash into a concrete barrier at the end of the track, smash into a steel barrier, smash into a chain-link fence, slide through a parking lot, slide across another lot filled with gravel, and smash into a second chain-link fence.” The locomotive stopped near the onramp to the Vincent Thomas Bridge, approximately 250 yards away from the Mercy.

Footage from the locomotive cab showed the engineer lighting a flare prior to crashing, revealing the train was aimed at the Mercy

After the crash, the engineer attempted to flee but was apprehended by the CHP officer who witnessed the incident. CBS Los Angeles reports that the CHP officer heard the engineer muttering, claiming that the ship was “part of a federal government plot to control our lives. You only get this chance once. The whole world is watching. I had to. People don’t know what’s going on here. Now they will.” 

No one was hurt in the incident. Hazmat teams cleaned up fuel from the off-track locomotive. 

The DOJ cited an affidavit stating that, in an interview with Los Angeles Port Police, the engineer said he was acting alone. Together, the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Los Angeles Port Police will lead the investigation. If convicted, the engineer faces up to 20 years in prison.  

video by ABC7.com

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