Posted: Oct 19, 2013 3:46 PM by MTN News - Missoula
Updated: Oct 19, 2013 5:06 PM
MISSOULA - The Missoula County Sheriffs Office is still investigating an attempted train derailment that happened near Clinton on Thursday night.
Authorities told MTN News that workers on a Montana Rail Link train could have seriously been hurt if it had derailed - and say they're looking into who could have caused it.
The incident happened just after 8:30 p.m. Thursday night just west of Clinton when an empty coal train - traveling about 55 mph eastbound - hit an object left on the tracks.
The object was described as a steel pipe about two feet long and 18" across that was filled with rocks. The collision caused damage to the train, but no one was hurt in the incident.
Missoula County Sheriff's Office Lt. Scott Newell says they noticed something unusual at the scene.
"About 30 yards away from where the culvert was sitting on the tracks, there's a berm. Somebody had burrowed into that, actually dug a hole, and placed sticks over it to camouflage - and inside was some blue tarp material."
"So, we don't know when that was dug - but it could have been dug by the suspect in order for them to hide there and see what happens when the train hits the culvert," Newell added.
A Montana Rail Link spokesperson says there have been other incidents over the last weeks - like this one - within a one mile radius.
The Missoula County Sheriff's Office is still investigating this latest case.