“Sometimes you just get a little snap… and man, it was fricking exciting!” – Eduardo Moreno.
Unbelievable as it seems, a Los Angeles-area railroad engineer has been arrested for trying to crash a full-sized locomotive right into the hospital ship USNS Mercy, currently moored at the Port of Los Angeles.
According to a rather terse press release from the DOJ (Central District of California);
A train engineer at the Port of Los Angeles was arrested this morning on federal charges for allegedly running a locomotive at full speed off the end of rail tracks near the USNS Mercy.
Eduardo Moreno, 44, of San Pedro, was charged today in a criminal complaint with one count of train wrecking as a result of an incident Tuesday afternoon.
According to the criminal complaint filed in United States District Court, Moreno admitted in two separate interviews with law enforcement authorities that he intentionally derailed and crashed the train near the Mercy.
Moreno ran the train off the end of tracks, and crashed through a series of barriers before coming to rest more than 250 yards from the Mercy.
But if you think that Moreno may be guilty of nothing more than boyish pranks, guess again. The same DOJ press release also notes that train wrecking is a federal beef, and Moreno could find himself with up to a 20-year sentence in a federal prison.
A bit more deep into the weeds was the Boston Globe who reported some rather… well, “odd” quotes from Moreno (emphasis mine);
On Tuesday afternoon, California Highway Patrol officer Dillon Eckerfield was rumbling down Harbor Avenue on his police motorcycle, in San Pedro, California, when he witnessed a strange sight: a freight train flying off the end of the tracks.
It didn’t even try to slow down. He watched it smash through the concrete and steel barriers at the track’s dead end, near the Port of Los Angeles. It crashed through a chain-link fence, careened through a parking lot and another gravel lot — barely missing three occupied vehicles — and then finally, after taking out another fence, came to a halt.
Roughly 800 feet ahead was the USNS Mercy, the Navy medical ship providing relief to hospitals overburdened with coronavirus patients — where police now believe the train’s engineer was intentionally headed.
“You only get this chance once. The whole world is watching,” the suspect, later identified as Eduardo Moreno, told Eckerfield. “I had to. People don’t know what’s going on here. Now they will.”
Prosecutors say Moreno was “suspicious of the USNS Mercy,” believing officials were lying about its true purpose. He believed “it had an alternate purpose related to COVID-19 or a government takeover,” they said.
But in a conspiratorial mind, Moreno told detectives he had been “putting the pieces together.” He no longer believed “the ship is what they say it’s for.” He believed “they are segregating us, and it needs to be put in the open,” according to the affidavit, which doesn’t explain what Moreno might have meant by that.
“I don’t know. Sometimes you just get a little snap and man, it was fricking exciting,” Moreno told detectives. “I just had it and I was committed. I just went for it. I had one chance.”
It’s unclear if he intended to hit the ship directly or just crash near it.
Security cameras inside the train’s cab captured him hurtling toward the end of the tracks, the affidavit says. He made no attempt to pull back the throttle, no attempt to engage the brakes, instead putting the train in full speed.
At the last minute, Moreno lit a flare. He looked up at the camera, raising his middle finger to it. Then, just before the train smashed through the concrete barriers, he stuck the flare out the window, keeping it there all the way through impact.
He told the detectives, “I can’t wait to see the video.”