published Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Hamilton County: Sheriff says train deaths an accident

  • Sheriff speaks on train deaths
    Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond held a news conference Wednesday to discuss the deaths of Michael Hennen, 27, and Hannah Barnes, 19, who were killed by a train about 6 a.m. on Aug. 22.

Replay live coverage of the sheriff's news conference today here.

Nine days after two people were killed by a train in Sale Creek, Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond said their deaths were “a tragic accident.”

Hammond held a news conference at the Sheriff’s Office this morning to discuss the deaths of Michael Hennen, 27, and Hannah Barnes, 19, who were killed by a train about 6 a.m. on Aug. 22.

The train tracks run through a farm owned by the McDonald family.

Hennen is the son of Tim Hennen, founder of Hennen’s restaurant and Big River Grille. Tim Hennen is married to Corinne McDonald, whose family has owned the large farm in Sale Creek for decades.

Barnes is the granddaughter of Marion Barnes, who was the head of Covenant College on Lookout Mountain from 1965 to 1978.

Read more in tomorrow’s Times Free Press.

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ChattaVol06 said...

Why did Hammond hold a press conference today? He gave no legitimate answers or info. Questions that I now have that I didn't before that make me wonder if this is a coverup: 1) They said all along that they were waiting for the VIDEO from the train. Today they say that NO VIDEO EXISTS... just grainy, blurry still images. 2) Hammond says that the two were embraced on the tracks and evidence shows both were alive at the time of the accident but neither heard the train or tried to move. HOW can he give this info when at the same time saying that the still images from the train are not clear and you can barely make out that two people were lying on the tracks??? 3) Why not wait for the toxicology reports to come back before holding a press conference? I think that the toxicology reports may shed some more light on what happened early that morning in regards to alcohol or other drug use. 4) Hammond says that Hannah's body was knocked off the tracks while Michael's was drug under the train for a short way. If they were both lying in between the rails, embraced, and never heard the train, how does one get knocked off the tracks and the other drug under the train??! Wouldn't it be the same result for both people if they were "embraced between the rails?" If Hannah was indeed knocked off the tracks, that tells me that she was trying to get away harder than Michael was if he was simply drug under the train.

Today's news conference provided no answers and only more speculation. I think that this entire situation has been handled poorly by the sheriff's office and Norfolk Southern. The accident is neither of those organization's faults, but it has taken this long for the sheriff's office to release any info, and the info they released is not clear at all. If they subpoena a video/images from the train, how do they not get that evidence for over a week?? And I still wonder how the initial report of them standing on the tracks made it into the news. That and the constant word of "sheriff's office is waiting to receive the VIDEO from the train." How does this info get into the news if they were never standing and there was never a video??!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

August 31, 2011 at 10:47 a.m.
WEBMAN said...

Why is the sheriff having a press conference to announce that this was an accident.He could have released this information in a press release.Sounds like there is more to this story than we are being told.

August 31, 2011 at 10:52 a.m.
Salsa said...

Given the level of interest and the large number of comments about this story in the past, I think a press conference was warranted.

August 31, 2011 at 11:03 a.m.
ValleyDweller said...

For those from the press conference feed saying no one official ever said that the individuals were standing; "Norfolk Southern spokeswoman Susan Terpay said "two individuals who were standing on the tracks" were struck just after 6 a.m. Monday." Here's the link.

August 31, 2011 at 11:09 a.m.
chattcat said...

How many times do we say the wrong things because we are caught in the moment or, better yet, get misquoted?!?! Why can't you all chalk this up to a terrible tragedy and accident as the Sheriff said?

August 31, 2011 at 11:23 a.m.
grandmastaj said...

chattcat, because everybody loves a good conspiracy and the gubberment is trying to cover them all up.

Let these kids and their families rest in peace, vultures.

August 31, 2011 at 11:46 a.m.
harrystatel said...

"Tragic accident?" The Barnes family should hire their own private investigators, if they haven't already.

August 31, 2011 at 11:59 a.m.
Momus said...

I think everyone is moving on but you harry.

August 31, 2011 at 12:23 p.m.
CharlesMartel said...

The government has the duty to determine the cause of all deaths. There is no "right to privacy" in death; the cause of death for everyone is public.

August 31, 2011 at 12:24 p.m.
ernest said...

the whole thing just doesnt make sense, and whenever something "obviously" does not make sense then 9 out 10 times there is something we do not know or are not being told. I agree that we should let them rest in peace, but it would still be nice to know the truth. The fact is though, we may never know the truth, us or their family.

August 31, 2011 at 1:03 p.m.
rolando said...

Generally, "thrill" sex acts are self-recorded for future laughs/thrills and for proof of act, if that's what it was. Much like "planking"; can't brag without proof.

You would think the investigators would look around for a cell phone/vidcam...just in case.

I, personally, do not buy the sheriff's story about that only a "still camera" was on board.

Anyone see the videos from inside the cab of other railroad accidents/derailments? A "black box" without a video is senseless considering today's easy access to high technology video equip.

August 31, 2011 at 3:18 p.m.
Moondog said...

According to a Barnes family member Hannah despised Hennen. The surveillance video at the Hennen Restaurant might have showed the pair leaving. However, the tape is overwritten after 72 hours, so the investigators blew that one. Also, according to a family source, Hannah texted her boyfriend while she was at work and told him she would soon be home. Hannah apparently loved her sleep, and had to be at work at 8 a.m. the next day. Sounds as if she was some place where she didn't want to be doing something she didn't want to do. Beth Burger, who is covering this, should dig more than she has.

August 31, 2011 at 6:01 p.m.
informed said...

I find it exceptionally hard to believe that Hannah dispised Mr. Hennen as this wasn't the first time they had been "together" -

August 31, 2011 at 8:10 p.m.
informed said...

OldMcDonald - I believe it's an unfair thing to say that she's dead as a result of Mr. Hennen's actions. She should have never accepted the invite to go out to the farm with him if that's the case. BOTH of their actions, unfortunately, ended up in a tragedy but it's completely not acceptable to blame just one party.

August 31, 2011 at 8:47 p.m.
Moondog said...

Some seduction Old McDonald. She ends up being struck by a train.

August 31, 2011 at 9:15 p.m.
railsafety said...

This is a tragedy, so very sad. My heart goes out to the families and friends. I wanted to make a couple of points here. First, the families are entitled to a variety of reports. The Coroner's, the police, the train company, the track owners and the TSB. I would request these reports and I would insist that the train company state the condition of the train's headlight- On Full, Dimmed or Extinguished. The rails extinguish their lights often during a run, which limits the view for the conductor/engineer but more importantly for the victims. It is difficult to hear a train from in front and if you add to that the train headlight being extinguished you have a recipe for tragedy. The rails do not like to point out the condition of their headlights reasons being obvious. Many people have died walking with backs to the train because they didn't hear it and if you remove the headlight the didn't see it. The 10 foot shadows that the headlight would cast to warn them is gone. If you google, (turn your lights on...mpg you tube) a video link comes up click it to see what I am talking about. I know from experience information needs to be had for these families not speculations...I hope they get the 5 reports it really tells you a lot.If the engineer had only 5 seconds from seeing them..then I would guess that the headlight was off. Everyone needs to know about this practice by the rails. There should have been more than 5 seconds. It sounds to me like these were 2 young people with much to look forward to, with plans.The person who mentioned how she was thrown away from the tracks would lead me to think she was up off the ground. I suspect when they realized that a train was coming they really had no time...but the horn and the lights should have provided precious seconds. I would be reading the reports for speed, allowed speed at that mile marker, lights, on or off. Also the rail companies require 2 things in the event of an accident causing death 1, the cellphone records of the engineer/conductor and they do a swab for drugs/alcohol which will be positive/negative or positive/positive of course they do not tell the answers to the public but they have that. I am not saying that was an issue, but I firmly believe the rails should take it off the table by answering. If you drive a car that kills 2 people you will be tested and it will be public. God Bless and I hope this helps just a little..prayers to all.

September 1, 2011 at 8:56 p.m.
ValleyDweller said...

It seems strings continue to be pulled with this story, seeing as the ability to comment has been disabled for the most recent article on the main page. Odd. What's up with that TFP?

September 1, 2011 at 9:59 p.m.
rnlqts said...

@OldMcDonald32 Nothing has even been hinted about this being something other than an accident. How good are your sources on the succinylcholine chloride theory?

September 2, 2011 at 12:38 p.m.
rnlqts said...

Hmmmmmm . . . just wondering why all of OldMcDonald32's posts have been removed. He must have posted a little too much about his "a heartbeat away" investigative source. hmmmmmmmmmmmm

September 2, 2011 at 8:01 p.m.
rnlqts said...

Why don't you people just shut this farce of a comment section down altogether? Over the last few days posts have disappeared. Don't you think that this does nothing but lend credence to the poster's remarks. The TFP is a JOKE! Let's see how long this post stays.

September 2, 2011 at 8:08 p.m.
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