Trial set for passenger accused of stopping Amtrak train
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — An April trial is scheduled for a Missouri man who allegedly stopped an Amtrak train in Nebraska.
Not guilty pleas were entered Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Lincoln for Taylor Wilson, of St. Charles, Missouri, according to court records. He’s charged with attempting to disable a train and attempting to interfere with an engineer or conductor. His trial is set to begin April 16.
The charges stem from an Oct. 22 incident on train headed to Chicago from California. Wilson, who was a ticketed passenger, entered a secure area of the locomotive and enabled an emergency brake as the California Zephyr traveled through western Nebraska, authorities said.
Wilson was armed with a revolver, ammunition and a knife, authorities said. None of the 175 people aboard the train were injured.
Defense attorney Jerry Sena told reporters that his client did not “knowingly intend” to disable the train, as the criminal charges state.
“It’s possible he doesn’t know what he was doing,” Sena said.
The FBI has alleged in court documents that Wilson has ties to white supremacist groups, including a business card for the National Socialist Movement, one of the largest neo-Nazi groups in the U.S. But Sena said he doesn’t believe his client is a member of any white supremacist group.
After Wilson allegedly stopped the train, Amtrak staff searched the locomotive and found him in the engineer’s seat of the follow engine. Amtrak staff said he was behaving erratically and playing with the controls. The conductor and others subdued Wilson, then held him for sheriff’s deputies to arrive where the train stopped in Oxford, about 200 miles (320 kilometers) southwest of Omaha.
A search of Wilson’s apartment in Missouri uncovered a tactical vest, ammunition and white supremacy documents and paperwork, according to court records. Wilson’s father also turned in 15 firearms his son owned.
Wilson is being held in the Saline County Jail.