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16. Drinking Is Fun
Charles, a 29-year-old painter, tried to beat an
-car freight train across the railroad tracks yesterday and
. Fortunately for Charles and his two friends, the
hit the bed of his pickup truck. The
of the impact separated the rear of the
from the front. The rear end of the
flew about 200 feet west of the front
. The train was traveling at 50 miles an
through an industrial district. It was fully loaded
appliances and new vehicles from the east coast.
were no mechanical arms or flashing lights at
railroad crossing -- only a stop sign on
side of the two-lane road.
The accident occurred
4:30 p.m. on a sunny afternoon. Charles and
two co-workers had stopped at a neighborhood liquor
at about 3:45. There they had bought a
of bottled beer that was on sale for
.95. By the time they got to the railroad
, they were all feeling good. They saw the
coming and they heard the horn blowing.
going to stop," said Charles. "But Tommy told
that the train wasn't even close. He said
if he was driving, he could drive over
tracks, make a U-turn, drive over the tracks
, and then drink a whole beer before the
When the police arrived, all three friends
sitting on the ground under a shade tree
50 feet from the front end of the
. None of them were even scratched. The train
crew suffered no damage or injuries. The engineer
shook his head.
“They think it's exciting, but
's just stupid,” the engineer said. “These guys might
in jail for a little while. But I
you within a year they’ll be out drinking
driving and racing trains again.”
The police charged
with driving under the influence, running a stop
, causing an accident, reckless endangerment, and littering—broken beer
were all over the place. They charged his
friends with drinking in a moving vehicle and
A city official said there are no plans
install flashing lights and mechanical arms at this
, partly because not enough accidents occur there and
because the city does not have sufficient funds
pay for such safety equipment.