Ralph R. Thompson saved Paul D. Hanna, Jr., from being killed by a train, Effingham, Illinois, September 24, 1960. Paul, 9, rode his bicycle onto a railroad crossing and stopped 12 feet back from a passing train. He remained astride his bicycle, which extended over the rail of another track, directly in the path of a second freight train approaching from the opposite direction at 40 m.p.h. The engineer saw Paul when the locomotive was 350 feet from him and blew the whistle. Paul was watching the first train and did not hear neither the whistle nor the warning shouts from other persons nearby. Thompson, 36, railroad brakeman, ran 60 feet to Paul over the rough macadam crossing on which there was scattered sand and thence over loose gravel. The locomotive, still traveling at 40 m.p.h. was within 30 feet of them as Thompson, his foot against the rail, threw his arm across Paul’s chest. Without stopping, he veered away from the rail, pulling Paul and the bicycle from the track. They barely cleared the train, which passed at undiminished speed.
45501 – 448245501-4482