published Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Hamilton County sheriff says train fatalities case now closed

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    Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond said in a news conference the train deaths were “a tragic accident.”
    Photo by Harrison Keely /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond said this afternoon that the investigation into the deaths of a man and woman who were killed by a train Aug. 22 is closed.

Toxicology reports released Monday show both 19-year-old Hannah Barnes and 27-year-old Michael Hennen were near the legal blood-alcohol limit for drunken driving when they were killed upon impact at a railroad crossing in Sale Creek.

At the time of their deaths, the Hamilton County sheriff’s office ruled the deaths accidental and kept the case open pending the toxicology results.

Those results confirm that Barnes’ and Hennen’s deaths were accidental and consistent with what authorities found at the scene — two empty beer cans and one full can, Hammond said in a news conference this afternoon.

Barnes’ blood-alcohol level was at 0.07 and Hennen’s blood alcohol level was at 0.086, according to the reports. The legal limit for drunken driving is 0.08.

For completed details, see tomorrow’s Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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maddawg said...

Two empty beer cans doesn't equal .07 and .086 blood alcohol level unless they were really really really big cans. Just sayin....

September 20, 2011 at 3:33 p.m.
ditdahdit said...

At the end of the day whether this is "case closed" or not, it seems plausible that things happened the way they did at the RR crossing that early morning.

What led up to that is the more pressing issue. Is the issue now, and really always has been, that a a 27 year old man who is in a position of authority took a young woman who is a subordinate by many levels and ended up getting her killed. Did he buy or pour her beers at his establishment or at other local establishments knowing that she was not 21 before taking her out to grand dad's place?

This was tragic for both familiies, but surely the Barnes family deserves some answers from the Hennen clan.

September 20, 2011 at 4:35 p.m.
CharlesMartel said...

The Bishop of Knoxville deserves some answers from the Hamilton County Sheriff's Department on why it took longer to establish a cause of death than it did to bury Mr Hennen. Also, why is this not being ruled a suicide? Were Catholics in the diocese abused by a powerful clan and a corrupt sheriff's department? So it seems.

September 20, 2011 at 5:13 p.m.
NoMyth said...

My assumption (which may not be correct) is that Mr. Hennen led a life a privilege and this often leads to careless behavior. It is likely this he had influence over the decisions (where they were going and what they were doing) of the young lady (his employee, as I understand it) that evening and his poor judgment led to this tragic outcome. Moral of the story: don't led your daughter date a silver spoon guy that has never worked an honest day in his life or achieved something on his own.

September 20, 2011 at 8:45 p.m.
rolando said...

It comes down to this, evidently...

It is always someone else's fault, no matter what "it" is.

Digging a hole is easy...a machine does it. Finding why it was filled is something else again...a human must do it...machines are too stupid.

Suicide requires intent as an element of proof...accidents do not. Proof was absent. 2 + 2 = 4. It is that simple.

Let them alone. Go find something else to stir up...The Obama's Idiocy, for instance.

September 20, 2011 at 8:50 p.m.
rolando said...

"Don't led your daughter date a silver spoon guy that has never worked an honest day in his life or achieved something on his own."

Someone should have told Michelle. Oh wait!

September 20, 2011 at 8:51 p.m.
kdpslions said...

Not sure why this is not ruled a suicide?

September 20, 2011 at 10:54 p.m.
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