Did train use horn before fatal crash?

April 15, 1997


Staff Writer, Martinsburg

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - A Maryland fisherman and a CSX official gave different accounts about whether a CSX train sounded its horn before a collision with a car Sunday afternoon that killed two Berkeley County, W.Va., women

The train's engineer sounded a horn about one second before the collision near the community of Sleepy Creek in Morgan County, said CSX spokesman Rob Gould.

However, a fisherman in the area said he did not hear a whistle before the collision.

Daniel Mason of Keedysville, Md., was one of several people fishing at the time along the Potomac River, located about 400 yards away from the accident scene.


"All of a sudden, I heard the train come to an abrupt stop. I heard the train brakes, and it sounded like the wheels locked up on it," said Mason.

Patricia Delaney, 53, of Hedgesville, W.Va., and Wilma Hyson, 44, of Inwood, W.Va., were killed Sunday when the car they were in was struck by a 76-car freight train carrying West Virginia coal from Cumberland, Md., to Baltimore.

The two women had about a mile of visibility to the west, the direction from which the train was coming, Gould said.

"They should have seen the train coming," said Gould.

West Virginia State Police, who responded to the accident, did not have additional details Monday. Although an investigation was continuing, the probe was not expected to concentrate on who was at fault, said a state police spokeswoman.

The only issue state police will concentrate on is whether any laws were violated, the spokeswoman said.

Gould would not release the names of the train's crew.

Delaney and Hyson died after the 1986 Buick Skylark in which they were riding was struck by the train about 2 p.m., officials said. The collision occurred as Delaney and Hyson were leaving the Potomac campground, located off River Road about nine miles north of Berkeley Springs, officials said.

Delaney, the driver of the car, crossed the railroad tracks at an unmarked private railroad crossing. Gould said he did not believe CSX built the dirt and gravel crossing.

Delaney had been looking for a lot on which to locate a recreational trailer, said Raymond Delaney, Patricia Delaney's former husband. Delaney said his former wife had become more interested in the outdoors following their divorce about five years ago.

Raymond Delaney said he and Patricia had been life-long friends, and had stayed in touch after their breakup.

"It's unreal," Raymond Delaney said, reacting to the accident. "I figure eventually, we would have gotten back together," he said.

Hyson was a friend of Patricia Delaney's who apparently had gone along for the ride, Raymond Delaney said.

Delaney managed recreational facilities at the Woods Resort and Conference Center near Hedgesville for about 14 years, Raymond Delaney said. She is survived by a son, two daughters and a foster daughter, according to her obituary.

Hyson worked at Aker Plastics of Martinsburg, according to company officials and friends.

The Herald-Mail Articles