How Doc Thompson was killed by a quiet zone

Former WRVA and The Blaze Conservative talk host Doc Thompson was struck and killed by an Amtrak train in Haltom City, Texas. The Texas Eagle runs from San Antonio to/from Chicago. The Northbound train goes through DFW around 3:30, using tracks owned by Trinity Rail, the commuter rail service. Amtrak rerouted their trains in 2014 to use this route.

But something important changed. About a month ago, a new commuter rail service named Texrail https://ridetrinitymetro.org/texrail/ was started running from the DFW airport to downtown.

Because of the much more frequent rail traffic, the city of Haltom City decided to designate the rail line as a “quiet zone” where trains are prohibited from sounding their horns at crossings

City Notice: https://www.haltomcitytx.com/public-works-news-events/2872-texrail-railroad-crossing-tests

Because this track was lightly used before the new TexRail service, and it is owned by a government agency, the crossing is pretty inadequate. The Fire chief said he doesn’t know how someone could not hear the train. I guess he didn’t get the memo.

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13 Responses to How Doc Thompson was killed by a quiet zone

  1. CC1s121LrBGT says:

    Here is an update that included comments from his employer, Glenn Beck. I personally liked Doc Thompson and would catch him on “The News and Why it Matters” round table on Blaze TV. He was a thoughtful and interesting guy.

    I came here to post this because of the intersectionality of talk radio and trains – two favorite subjects here. I was shocked to find it was Doc Thompson.

    The update was that a pair of wireless earbuds was found at the scene, so that may be a clue in answering the Fire chief’s question. Not sure if they belonged to Doc or whether he was using them at the time.

  2. TheChairman says:

    “No one on the train was injured.”

    Did the Dallas Morning News really believe that paragraph was necessary? To me, it merely illustrates the inane sensibilities of today’s reporters and editors.

    As I understand it, the engineer can use the horn at their discretion. So what happened? Was the engineer paying attention? Does Amtrak have video monitoring (dash-cam) in their cabs?

    • Fred Stiening says:

      So far, nobody seems to have asked that question. The engineer is reported to have said Doc was not walking on the tracks, but close enough to be hit be the train. That description leads to two main possibilities – he was walking on the railroad ROW, which is illegal, or he was on the street crossing the tracks. If you run every day and trains blow their hons, and then one day tbey stop, it would be human nature to assume no train is coming. The gates were surely down and the lights flashing. Most grade crossings are set to about 20 seconds from activation until the train arrives.

      I had an eerie thought that maybe the engineer thought the person was another vagrant on the tracks and didn’t much care…

      • TheChairman says:

        CC: Discretionary use of the horn was cited in TEXRail’s notice regarding the quiet zone. An engineer has absolute authority to sound a horn if deemed necessary, ordinances notwithstanding.

        If the engineer says “Doc was not on the tracks, but close enough to be hit,” then the engineer seems to be partially culpable here.

    • CC1s121LrBGT says:

      You’re exactly right, TheChairman. No human being is going to see someone about to get hit and let it happen because of some ordinance prohibiting using the train horn.

      Cars (not just self-driving cars) can sense when there is something in front of them about to get hit, no reason trains should not as well.

      • Fred Stiening says:

        Nice in theory, but not in practice. Throwing trains into emergency braking by mistake could be very expensive and result in derailment. Trains frequently pass very close to stationary objects right next to the tracks. It would take either a very detailed map or very clever AI to tell the difference between a manual switch indicator and a child next to the tracks.

        Amtrak trains can stop faster than freight trains, but in general when fast moving trains spot a problem, it is already too late to stop in time.

        • CC1s121LrBGT says:

          Agreed.

          But using the horn to alert someone despite an ordinance against using a horn would at worst result in a complaint, paperwork and possible job loss (no job loss if AI toots the horn).

  3. Parrott says:

    killer ! I listened to Doc after Rush before WRVA went ‘fleabag’ iheart radio. He was good. Not to many good people left in Richmond. Maybe ‘the band’ .
    parrott

  4. briand75 says:

    Well crap! I liked Doc Thompson! While he made the “immature male” popular again, his mind was quite well-ordered and he was loveable soul. Killed by a train? I love trains – very conflicted.

    Prayers for Doc and his remaining family.

  5. CC1s121LrBGT says:

    Doc would have been safer jogging in California.

    https://www.kqed.org/news/11725636/state-of-the-state-newsom-pulls-plug-on-s-f-to-l-a-high-speed-rail-project

    New business idea : web site that tracks and compares whether more people are getting rich off the Democrat train scams, or the Democrat Global Warming scams.

  6. TheChairman says:

    In other rail news, does anyone recall the blog post regarding China’s investment in Africa? (I couldn’t find the original article by Fred) There’s a train-wreck coming…

    https://www.scmp.com/business/banking-finance/article/2170549/botched-chinese-railway-project-africa-warning-belt-and

    • Fred Stiening says:

      Countess and I have watched a few YouTube videos of a South African refugee living in China – serpentza (.za =
      South Africa)

      He did a video on how the One Belt One Road initiative is falling apart, but he is somewhat constrained on what he can say, being reliant on the kindness of the Chinese visa process.

      His opinion is that China should be spending its resources on improving rural China rather than trains in Pakistan. He “gets” the debt trap China is setting, but missed that rural China is not going to improve without the huge supply of natural resources China needs to gather from around the world.

      Secondarily, China wants the rural areas miserable so they migrate to the big cities to assemble iPhones. It is not an oversight, it is a strategy.

      • CC1s121LrBGT says:

        The Green Nude Eel is presenting China with a fantastic debt trap opportunity. I’m surprised that Don Jr.’s girlfriend’s ex-husband (Mr. Newsom) hasn’t already reached out directly to President Trump’s great friend, Premier Li.

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