- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 15, 2014

GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) - A Wyoming man remains detained on federal charges that he took locomotives from a coal mine where he worked and intentionally crashed into another train at a nearby mine.

Derek Skyler Brux, 22, appeared in U.S. District Court in Casper on Wednesday on a federal charge of violence against railroad carriers, The Gillette News Record reports (https://bit.ly/1sQSTKX).

U.S. Magistrate Judge R. Michael Shickich read Brux the charges against him and advised him of his rights, said John Powell, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Cheyenne. Brux will remain in custody pending a detention hearing within the next three days.

State charges filed against Brux last week were dismissed Wednesday at the request of Campbell County prosecutors, Circuit Court officials said.

Federal prosecutors allege Brux was upset with his supervisor at Rail Link on Oct. 9 so he unhooked two BNSF Railway locomotives parked near the North Antelope Rochelle Mine and began traveling south. The locomotives ran over scales in the mine yard, ran over and destroyed two closed switches and sped past a construction crew at a highway crossing before a switch directed the locomotives into the Antelope Mine yard about 13 miles away.

Brux told federal investigators he twice intentionally struck a train in the mine yard and was backing up for a third try when another Rail Link employee was able to hit the fuel cutoff switch, “and there ended my little escapade,” he told investigators.

A BNSF dispatcher stopped all train traffic as soon as the locomotives went missing to avoid a head-on collision with another train, prosecutors said.

“Brux ran the locomotives at a high rate of speed on one of the busiest sections of train tracks in the United States,” the complaint against Brux said. “The route of travel went through a public grade crossing and past a BNSF maintenance crew working on the tracks. Each action had the potential to cause catastrophic damage with grave results.”

Brux acknowledged that the locomotives belonged to BNSF, that he was not qualified to be on the main line and was only allowed to run the locomotives on mine property, charging documents said.

BNSF estimated the damage to replace its switches at between $50,000 and $60,000, but court records do not include information on the estimated damage to the mine scales or any damage to the locomotives or the second train.

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Information from: The Gillette (Wyo.) News Record, https://www.gillettenewsrecord.com

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