Train conductor loses appeal in rail death
Source: Karen Kleiss, edmontonjournal.com
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EDMONTON - A train conductor convicted of breaking safety rules that led
to the death of a truck driver has lost her appeal.
Susan Hopkins was convicted in November last year of failing to protect
the public at a railway crossing in Fort Saskatchewan on Aug. 18, 2005.
The veteran conductor was in charge of 20 rail cars being pushed along
the tracks from behind when they approached a crossing at Highway 15.
Truck driver Arnold Mahlitz, 55, sped up to cross the tracks, and was
hit by the oncoming train. He died at the scene.
Under the Canadian Rail Operating Rules and the Railway Safety Act,
Hopkins was required to have a person standing on the tracks to alert
the public to the oncoming train, but she did not.
During the trial and the appeal, she argued that she had executed her
due diligence when she effectively ceded responsibility to her brakeman
and engineer, both of whom also had decades of experience and knew the
In a judgment released Wednesday, Court of Queen's Bench Justice Eric
Macklin refused to accept her argument, and agreed with Provincial Court
trial Judge Peter Ayotte, who ruled that she did not take all reasonable
steps to ensure compliance with the rules.