Local Doctor Relates Illinois Train Tragedy
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Survivor of Major Wreck Local Doctor Relates Illinois Train Tragedy By Margaret Martin Times Medical Writer Shreveport hematologist Dr. Joyce Redetzki doesn't like to fly so when she returned from a Chicago medical meeting last week she took the City of New Orleans passenger train, plan-ning to get off in Jackson, Miss. But there was an unscheduled stop near Salem, Ill., due to a derailment which killed 11 per-sons and injured nearly 100 others. The southbound train, pride of the Illinois Central Railroad and operating under the Amtrak system, tore up 1,200 feet of track as it derailed at Tonti, Ill., three miles northwest of Salem in Southern Illinois. The acci-dent happened about 12:30 p.m. Thursday. Dr. Redetzki, who was not injured, finally arrived home S a t u r d a y . Her husband, Dr. H. M. Redetzki, head of the pharmacology department a t Louisiana State University Med-ical School at Shreveport, flew to St. Louis to pick her up, and they drove home. The Shreveporter was sitting in the middle of Car 17. She says, "I heard what sounded like an alarm and then a loud screech of wheels . . . Sudden Stepping on Brakes "What sounded like a very sudden stepping on brakes — I had been on trains which had to stop for cars and I thought that was what it was. "There were five bumps, and the car seemed to jump in the air. "I was holding on to the back of the seat in front of me. "I thought, 'We are in for it now'." At this point she could feel the wheels "running on the cross ties," and "the car began to sway from side to side." "I could see the aisle across from me going down and I braced myself," she said. And, the Shreveport doctor, a member of the intenal medicine department at the V e t e r a n s Administration Hospital ended up standing up on the end of the seat on the other end of the aisle, with suitcases tumbling down all around her. Outside, "all the cars in front of us . . . our car . . . had derailed and were all folded up like accordians and the engine was on fire." As soon as the train came to a standstill in the middle of that flat I l l i n o i s corn field, Dr. Redetzki "realized that I had survived," and "made a bee-line for the door — all I could think about was the possibility of a fire." "I think I was the first one off the train," she recalled. "People were screaming first because they couldn't get out of some of the cars but the screaming stopped after the initial shock wore off." Dr. Redetzki went back inside her car to see if anyone was hurt and l a t e r she and medical student checked out some of the injured, "but we were pretty helpless — there was no equipment and no first aid supplies." She was asked to climb into one overturned car "to see if a woman could be moved," and she, with the help of the medical student, and another man re-moved a piece of the engine which was lying on top of a little girl. "After that there was abso-lutely nothing we could do. "The ambulances a r r i v e d within 10 to 15 minutes after the accident and gave marvelous service for such a tiny town. "Everything was well organ-ized. The fire trucks arrived within 15 to 20 minutes and began s p r a y i n g the burning engine," she said. School buses took those who could walk into Salem, and the walking injured were taken to towns in and around Salem, "while the s e v e r e l y injured were taken into St. Lous."
|Title||Local Doctor Relates Illinois Train Tragedy|
Redetzki, Joyce E.
|Identifier||See reference URL on the navigation bar.|
|Source||Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Shreveport Medical Library (http://lib.sh.lsuhsc.edu)|
|Coverage-Spatial||Shreveport (Caddo, La.)|
|Rights||Physical rights are retained by Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Shreveport. Copyright is retained in accordance with U.S. copyright laws.|