W. Neil Pearre saved William N. Murphy from being killed by a train, Huntingdon, Tennessee, May 26, 1961. While Murphy, 82, was walking between the rails of a track, a freight train approached from behind at a speed of 20 m.p.h. The engineer sounded warning signals, and Murphy stepped from the track but stopped only a few inches beyond it, still in the path of the train. The engineer then applied the emergency brakes, and the train began to slow gradually. Murphy did not move as the engine approached to within 175 feet of him, traveling at a reduced speed of 15 m.p.h. Pearre, 48, railroad fireman, then stepped from the cab onto a walkway alongside it and ran to a platform at the front of the engine. From the platform he moved onto the drawbar and thence onto the footboard, which was somewhat greasy. Holding to a grab-iron with one hand, Pearre leaned forward and extended his arm. When the engine was within three feet of Murphy and traveling at about 12 m.p.h., Pearre thrust forcibly against Murphy’s shoulder, knocking him clear of the train’s path. The impact jolted Pearre severely and his knee struck the engine, but he maintained his hold and footing. The train stopped 100 feet beyond Murphy, who was not injured.
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