Local conductor shares emotional story to students to teach rail safety

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CHICAGO -- After being involved in a horrific train crash, a local conductor is sharing his story to help teach others about rail safety.

For the last 10 years, Joe Chacon has been sharing the story that changed his life.

He was a 20-year-old conductor and about a year into his career in the rail industry when he was involved in a terrible crash. One Saturday night in 1997, a car went around the lowered railroad gates and Chacon’s freight train, 40 cars long, ripped the car in half.

Today, Chacon spoke with 5th and 6th graders at Jacqueline B Kennedy School in Burbank, which has a railroad crossing close by.

He shared his memories from that night and talks about the dangers of working in the railway industry.

Chacon teamed up with Operation Lifesaver to help teach people about rail safety.  He hopes sharing his personal story will help get the message across.

Over the last 10 years, Chacon has given more than 400 presentations to nearly 30,000 people.

If you’d like to request a free presentation for your school, organization or business, you can do that through Operation Lifesaver’s website.