Early Tuesday morning at 12:02AM, a CSX train carrying 21 cars of an 80-car-long freight train carrying coal derailed in downtown Old Ellicott City – killing 2 females. Howard County police identified the victims as Elizabeth Conway Nass and Rose Louese Mayr of Ellicott City. Nass was a student at James Madison University in Virginia – a junior majoring in interdisciplinary liberal studies. Mayr was a student at the University of Delaware – a junior nursing major. Both of the girls were headed back to college next week.
According to Howard County Police Spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn, the girls died in the accident after being buried under the coal that was dumped from the overturned CSX railroad cars. The girls were found still seated on the edge of the bridge over Main Street. Judging by the girls last posts on Twitter, Nass and Mayr were sitting on the edge of the railroad track bridge (over Main Street) – picture to the left. A report from safety officials states that Nass and Mayr were “sitting on the ledge facing east towards Baltimore County with their backs to the side of the train as it passed a few feet behind them… For an unknown reason, the train derailed, causing open cars filled with coal to tip over.”
Our prayers and sympathies go out the families and friends of these young women.
*Update: Maryland train derailment delays terrorism trial at Guantanamo. Verizon admitted that the train derailment damaged fiber optic lines that service their wireless customers – they were rerouting traffic to another network in the interim. They (probably obviously for security reasons) didn’t mention those lines also service a US Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. According to CNN, the Naval Base lost 50% of it’s network connectivity and had to delay the trail of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed who is being charged in the 9/11 attacks on the United States.
Last Twitter Posts
The timestamps on the tweets suggest that they were on the bridge for hours before the accident – however, those timestamps may be off depending on how Twitter determines what time to display on the timestamps (server time, local time, time on the users phones, etc.)
8:40PM – via text: “Drinking on top of the Ellicott City sign with @r0se_petals” says Twitter user @LizNassty – Elizabeth Nass.
“Looking down on old ec…” says Twitter user @r0se_petals – Rose Mayr.
8:51PM – via MMS: “Levitating @LizNassty” says Twitter user @r0se_petals – Rose Mayr
Note: these screenshots were taken on 8/21 around 9am – prior to any news outlets mentioning Twitter. Elizabeth Nass’ Twitter account has since been shut down. Rose Mayr’s Twitter account has since been made “Protected” – only accessible to those that “Follow” her.
Howard County Police reported that they knew of the tweets the girls were sending before the incident. “They have viewed the photos on public web sites and recognize that they appear to have been posted by one of the girls … This will be verified only after the girls’ cell phones are processed by authorities,” officials said in a news release.