I'd recommend them for the Rachel Corrie Award if only they'd been protesting something, but since they were just trespassing slackers who died stupidly, all they get is the standard Darwin.
Christopher Artes used drugs and drank. He hopped trains all over the country while his mother looked on with pride and admiration. He basically wasted oxygen that productive people might otherwise have breathed. And now he's past tense, along with Medeana Hendershot, another loser who would rather hop trains than get a job and start building a future. Apparently they were riding in a coal car that dumped it's load--including the two of them--at a power plant along it's route.
Artes, 25, and Hendershot, 22, were found Sunday in coal by power plant workers. It's not clear exactly when or how they died.
Sometime over the weekend, the train pulled into the city of Lakeland's power plant in Central Florida. As the railcars arrive, the bottom opens and cars drop coal several stories below onto a waiting truck.
Officials were not sure if the couple was sitting on top of the coal or were riding in an empty car and dropped onto a mound of coal, then hit or buried by another load.
Artes died from asphyxiation, meaning he was likely buried alive. Hendershot died from blunt force trauma to the mid-section, so she could have been hurt falling or by coal falling on her.
"Surprise!" I guess these two forgot that trains actually do stuff besides give dirtbag trespassers free rides. Sometimes they actually discharge their cargo.
When asked for comment, his mom had plenty to say:
"If he had to die so young, at least he died at a moment where he was on top of the world," said Susan Artes, Christopher's mother.
I'm sure that she's shopping for lawyers right now, hoping to cash in off the railroad. But if she sues anyone, it really should be herself as she was apparently an active co-conspirator in his illegal activities.
Artes called his mom three times a week.
He would sometimes ask her to look up directions on the Internet for truck stops, grocery stores and other places while he was on the road.
Artes' mother said her son had a train-hopping manual, but it was stolen at some point. She described her son as naïve and trusting. When he and Hendershot were in Miami several weeks ago, a trucker with whom they had caught a ride with stole Artes' backpack.
"We were always worried about him. He always made so many bad decisions," she said. "If he got an idea and something looked good to him, he would do it. He was always jumping into situations. This particular train was one of them.
Obviously a manual put out by the railroads, right? And if not for that darn backpack-stealing trucker, her son would probably be alive today. I'll be she sues him too.
Of course I note that she doesn't fault his riding trains in general, but merely that particular train. (insert facepalm here.)
Life's tough when you're stupid,but it's exponentially tougher when the ones who are supposed to guide you and keep you on the right track encourage and enable you no matter how dumb your decisions are.
Oh well...More food for the rest of us.