Man Who Stole Locomotives Sentenced In Federal Court
A Wyoming man who stole a train from a coal mine and took it for a joyride because he was mad at his boss has been sentenced to serve probation and pay restitution.
Derek Skyler Brux unhitched a pair of engines and took them on a high-speed run down a major rail line last fall and crashed them into a train at another mine.
The 22-year-old pleaded guilty to related charges in January and must serve five years' probation and pay over $63,000 in restitution to his employer, Rail Link.
U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl said Friday that Brux needs to deal with his anger and mental health issues.
The incident started when Brux became upset over a phone call. Available court records didn't indicate what his supervisor said, however.
“I ended up getting upset, stole two locomotives and got on the main line,” Brux told U.S. District Court Judge Scott Skavdahl during the change of plea hearing.
“I disabled two switches,” he added.
Brux, who was 22 when arrested, was charged with “violence against railroad carriers and mass transportation systems on land, on water, or through the air.”
He remains free on bond, in the custody of his mother who monitors his mental health evaluation and care. His public defender David Weiss previously told the court Brux has had a history of bipolar disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, but no history of encounters with law enforcement.
According to court documents filed with the case, Brux received a call early Thursday, Oct. 9, from a supervisor at Rail Link where he worked as a utility coal operator for three years at the North Antelope Rochelle Mine.
The call angered him. He then uncoupled two Burlington Northern Santa Fe locomotives at the North Rochelle Antelope Mine in Campbell County. Brux went “around the loop’” and “‘pretty much squashed the f— outta their scales’” and blew the locomotive’s horn to alert people, according to court documents.
He entered the main line — one of the busiest lines of track in the country — and drove them south for 13 miles into Converse County.
Meanwhile, a BNSF dispatcher stopped all traffic on the lines to avoid a collision.
A switch that sent Brux into the North Antelope mine. He came upon an idle Union Pacific train, hoped no one was on it or under it, and hit it while traveling about 10 mph. He backed up, went forward and hit it again, and was about to do it a third time when a Rail Link employee was able get on the locomotive and hit the fuel cut-off switch.
Brux ran away, and a Campbell County Sheriff’s Office deputy found him walking along a creek bed near the crash site.