Stokes update: Amtrak gates malfunctioned

| Friday, October 12, 2001

Although investigators found that John Stokes did not drive around lowered gates at McKnight Road Crossing in Bourbonnais, IL, he still faces prison for logbook and hours-of-service violations in connection with the 1999 crash with Amtrak's City of New Orleans train, according to the Kankakee, IL, Daily Journal.

The investigator's report, buried in the seventh paragraph of the Journal's story, said warning lights and signals at the gates were malfunctioning. As a result, prosecutors did not proceed with reckless homicide charges againstStokes, of Manteno, IL. Instead, the state's attorney general has indicted Stokes on one count of willful violation of maximum driving time and one count of willful violation of driver's record of duty status, both Class 4 felonies. For each count, the sentence could be one to three years in prison.

The March 15, 1999, crash between Stokes' rig and the City of New Orleans train injured more than 100 and killed 11 passengers.