Oregon man sentenced to 60 months for brandishing knife on Amtrak train in Monroe County

(Amtrak photo)

MADISON (WKBT) – A 32-year-old Portland, Ore., man was sentenced Thursday to 60 months in prison for intentionally interfering with an on-duty Amtrak railroad conductor in Monroe County, Wis.

Timothy Thomas, who pleaded guilty to the charge on March 3, was sentenced in connection with a Nov. 7, 2020, incident after law enforcement responded to a report of an Amtrak passenger brandishing an 8-inch knife.

While in route, officers received information that the engineer stopped the train near US-12 and Hudson Road in Monroe County, according to the criminal complaint. Law enforcement also learned that the man, later identified as Thomas, got off of the train and attempted to force his way into one of the locomotives.

When officers arrived, they observed Thomas walking away from the tracks. They detained him, searched him for weapons and found a large, white-handled knife concealed in his right pant leg, according to the complaint.

Investigators interviewed passengers, the conductor and the engineer. The passengers explained that Thomas started threatening people around the Wisconsin Dells area.

One passenger said that the defendant was talking loudly, banging on the seats, and threatening to “kill people.” Another passenger told investigators that Thomas refused to wear his mask and coughed on passengers.

The conductor told investigators that, when she approached Thomas to discuss his conduct, he pulled a white-handled, fixed-blade knife from his pant leg and held it over his head in a threatening manner. He then began stabbing the knife toward the conductor.

The train’s engineer said he stopped the train when he received a radio transmission from the conductor about the potentially perilous incident. The engineer then saw Thomas exit one of the cars, climb onto a locomotive and attempt to force his way into the cabin.

During sentencing in Madison, U.S. District Judge William Conley said Thomas’s actions not only affected the conductor but also recklessly endangered the safety of the train itself.

The charge against Thomas was the result of an investigation conducted by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Wisconsin State Patrol, Amtrak Police, Canadian-Pacific Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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