Transportation: Rolling Fright

Most of the farmland community of Crete, Neb., was asleep last month when 19 cars of a Burlington freight train jumped track on the outskirts of town.

The cars slammed into a tank car parked on a siding, rupturing it and allowing its cargo of anhydrous ammonia fertilizer to escape. Within minutes, a deadly, all-enveloping mist hovered over the vicinity. Sleeping in their house near the tracks, Ron Hatchett, 21, and his small daughter died almost instantly. So did an elderly couple living nearby and another man a few houses away. Besides the five in Crete, the accident killed three...

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