Billy Hit The Train

THERE WERE WITNESSES who said that Billy hit the train with his truck. They were careful to point out that the train didn’t hit Billy. Billy hit the train. They said the train and a load of boxcars had already been in the crossing for about a minute or so when Billy tried to drive through it. The police wanted to know what the witnesses were doing at the railroad crossing at 2 AM on a moonless night. They said they were there to see Billy hit the train.

The police report stated that the witnesses, all male, appeared to be intoxicated. According to the report, Billy’s truck was found in a ditch about a hundred yards away from the crossing. Apparently, the truck had approached the crossing at a high rate of speed and the impact with the moving train had knocked it at an angle away from the tracks. The train had continued on its way, its crew apparently unaware that a crash had occurred. Billy’s truck sustained considerable damage to its front end, but the cab was relatively intact. The police searched the truck thoroughly, but Billy wasn’t in it. A wider search in the area around the truck was carried out, but there was no sign of Billy anywhere.

The police questioned the witnesses concerning the whereabouts of Billy. They all testified that the last they’d seen of him was just before he hit the train, and the last thing they heard him say was, “YEEEE-HAAAA!” The witnesses were initially retained as being material to the investigation, but, the next day, they were released.

It was later determined that the train had, in fact, sustained damage to a boxcar, so the Federal Railway Administration got involved. Local and federal charges were filed against Billy for willfully damaging a moving train and for leaving the scene of an accident. It was noted that several warrants for Billy’s arrest were already outstanding for various other offenses.

Separate manhunts to find Billy were instituted by federal and local authorities. In addition, Billy’s wife wanted him for child support and a man named Ramirez said Billy owed him a lot of money. Billy’s mother was interviewed on TV. She said, “Billy—you really did it this time.”

For weeks, Billy was in the local news. Several dozen leads came in and were investigated. He was sighted as far away as Tulsa, but nothing panned out. Then he got reported on a national TV news show and sightings came in from everywhere. Every skinny man in the country with stiff red hair had to prove that he was not Billy. After a while, the hoopla died down, and Billy was still missing.

Eventually, the case went cold and the police filed it away. Only the railroad detectives kept looking for Billy, but after several years he had been forgotten by everybody else. His wife got several men at different times to come and fill in for him, as baby Millie grew up.

A little flurry rose up the year the man who called himself “D. B. Cooper” jumped out of a jet plane with $200,000 strapped to his body. In Billy’s hometown, a man in his thirties went to the police department and asked if there was any reward for turning the guy in. In a statement that was taken down, the man said that he was one of the witnesses who saw Billy hit the train years ago, and he declared that D. B. Cooper was Billy. He said, “That’s what Billy used to call himself all the time.” This got reported on local TV and people started calling in wanting to know if D. B. Cooper was really Billy or not. The police said they were skeptical of the man’s story. The man then demanded to take a polygraph test to prove that he was telling the truth. The polygraph proved that he was lying. So Billy went back to being forgotten. After many years, a judge declared that he was legally dead. That satisfied his aging mother, but Billy’s wife was not so sure. She said, “He’s out there, somewhere.”

But he never turned up. His mother died, and then his wife got sick and died. Millie grew up and became the only person she knew who remembered Billy, mainly for never being around. Years later, she decided to look for her father. Armed with a sheaf of old records, she enlisted the aid of an agency that helped find missing relatives. After a few weeks, the agency reported that they had located a man they believed to be Billy. He was living in Seattle, Washington.

Millie flew to Seattle and confronted an old man who was skinny and had hair that was stiff and used to be red. When she told the man who she was, he got extremely nervous and denied that he was her father. He denied ever having been in the town where Billy grew up. Then he added, “I never hit that train, neither!”

Millie smiled, thinking she had her answer. But, just to clinch it, she made him get a DNA test. But all that proved was that the old man was not her father.

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About Larry Blumen

In a former life, I worked as a Syphilis Investigator. What else do you want to know?
  19 months ago
Love this story, Larry. "Billy’s mother was interviewed on TV. She said, “Billy—you really did it this time.” Particularly liked the mother's comment. I can imagine making one like that!
  25 months ago
Billy hit the train. Then he hit the road.

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