3 Stabbed on Amtrak Train in Ohio
AMY BETH GRAVES
Aug. 27, 1999
OLMSTED FALLS, Ohio (AP) _ Amtrak will review its security in the wake of a stabbing aboard its Lake Shore Limited train that left three people injured, two of them critically.
Aaron Hall, 41, of Ontario, Calif., was being held on $1 million bail after being charged with three counts of attempted murder. Police said he stabbed two conductors and a passenger as the train moved across Ohio early Thursday on its way from Chicago to New York.
The train's 376 passengers were jolted awake outside Cleveland shortly after 3 a.m. as Hall and the victims ran through the train, leaving a bloody trail in seven cars. Hall was arrested when a passenger identified him while leaving the halted train.
Jacqueline Williams, 43, of Worcester, Mass., who boarded the train in Toledo with her 12-year-old daughter, said one of the wounded conductors burst into her car.
``As soon as he came in, I heard the worker shout into a walkie-talkie: `He's got a knife! He stabbed me! He stabbed me!''' she said.
Police have cited no motive for the attack, which witnesses said happened after Hall became unruly in the train's dining car. Amtrak spokesman Ray Lang said the victims were stabbed when they tried to subdue him.
The passenger, John Henry Crotty, remained in critical condition early today at St. John West Shore Hospital in Westlake, Ohio after surgery for stab wounds to his cheek and jaw, hospital officials said.
Conductor Michael Dwyer, 52, also remained critical at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland with a head wound, a nursing supervisor said. The other conductor, Sean Wilcox, 26, of Merrillville, Ind., was released after being treated for wounds to his shoulder and chin.
Hall, who police said kicked out a patrol car window, told reporters he acted in self-defense when a train porter pulled a gun on him. Police said no gun was found.
Gerald Tiszczek, appointed as Hall's attorney, would not comment.
Amtrak said it would review the stabbing to determine if security is adequate aboard its trains.
``If it is determined that Amtrak needs to modify security procedures, changes will be made,'' the company said in a statement.
While the railway's police department patrols major stations, no security officers ride the Lake Shore Limited, Lang said.
Eric Eakin, a spokesman for the United Transportation Union, whose members include conductors, said the workers ``have the same concerns as stewardesses or cab drivers. You just never know when these incidents are going to occur,'' he said.
Federal Railroad Administration officials joined several other rail unions in noting the high level of safety aboard Amtrak trains.
``This is the first incident of its kind in five years,'' Pamela Barry, an FRA spokeswoman. ``Amtrak does a good job of policing, and we'll let them continue doing that.''