Hamilton County sheriff says train fatalities case now closed

Hamilton County sheriff says train fatalities case now closed

September 20th, 2011 by Beth Burger in News

Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond said in a news conference the train deaths were "a tragic accident."

Photo by Harrison Keely/Times Free Press.

Michael Hennen, 27, and Hannah Barnes, 19

Photo by WRCB-TV Channel 3 /Times Free Press.

Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond said this afternoon that the investigation into the deaths of a man and woman who were killed by a train Aug. 22 is closed.

Toxicology reports released Monday show both 19-year-old Hannah Barnes and 27-year-old Michael Hennen were near the legal blood-alcohol limit for drunken driving when they were killed upon impact at a railroad crossing in Sale Creek.

At the time of their deaths, the Hamilton County sheriff's office ruled the deaths accidental and kept the case open pending the toxicology results.

Those results confirm that Barnes' and Hennen's deaths were accidental and consistent with what authorities found at the scene - two empty beer cans and one full can, Hammond said in a news conference this afternoon.

Barnes' blood-alcohol level was at 0.07 and Hennen's blood alcohol level was at 0.086, according to the reports. The legal limit for drunken driving is 0.08.

For completed details, see tomorrow's Chattanooga Times Free Press.