Sheriff raises more questions in death of railroad workerby Laura Yuen, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A new statement by the Anoka County sheriff's office raises more questions about a railroad worker struck and killed by a Northstar commuter train last month.
Under pressure from the family of Andrew Weaver, the sheriff's department this week said Weaver was not on his cell phone at the time he died, reversing its earlier version of events.
Now, the office says Weaver, 53, of Fridley, apparently was using his cell phone shortly before he died -- but not at the exact moment he was hit.
The new statement says at least one witness reported Weaver was talking on his phone, that phone records show he received a call just minutes before the accident, and that Weaver's co-workers at Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway say they were on the phone with him and lost contact after he told them, "Hold on a minute."
But the sheriff's department said video footage taken of the accident shows Weaver did not have a cell phone in his hand when he was struck. He was holding a stack of papers in his right hand, and a cell phone was found near his body.
The sheriff's investigation is ongoing.
Federal regulations prohibit railroad operating employees from using cell phones while on duty, but the rule did not apply to Weaver's position of roadmaster, according to a spokesman wit the Federal Railroad Administration. The agency is conducting a separate investigation of the incident.