John Shank Custer saved Kelley Marie Docherty from being killed by a train, Franklin, Pennsylvania, April 7, 1963. Kelley Marie, 2, wandered to a railroad track on which a train loaded with ladles of molten slag which had been heated to more than 2,000 degrees was traveling backward at about 12 m.p.h. As the train rounded a slight curve, causing the hot slag to splash out and set fire to grass alongside the track, Custer, 51, railroad conductor, was on the caboose platform and saw Kelley Marie in the path of the train holding to one of the rails. The train was within 40 feet of Kelley Marie when Custer descended steps and swung thence from the caboose, landing ahead of it on uneven ballast alongside the track. The caboose was slowly overtaking Custer as he ran as hard as be could 30 feet and reached Kelley Marie. Leaning farther into the path of the train, he snatched her in one arm. The caboose was four feet from them and still moving at unreduced speed when Custer pivoted sharply and ran from the train’s path with Kelley Marie. The train passed them and stopped 235 feet beyond.
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