State of Oregon Man Sentenced to 60 Months for Interfering with Railroad Conductor

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

MADISON, WIS. – Timothy M. O’Shea, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Timothy Thomas, 32, Portland, Oregon, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge William M. Conley to 60 months in prison for intentionally interfering with an on-duty Amtrak railroad conductor.  Thomas pleaded guilty to this charge on March 3, 2022. 

On November 7, 2020, law enforcement responded to a report of an Amtrak passenger brandishing an eight-inch knife.  While in route, officers received information that the engineer stopped the train near the intersection of US-12 and Hudson Road in Monroe County, Wisconsin.  Law enforcement also learned that the subject, later identified as the Timothy 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 Thomas, searched him for weapons, and found a large, white-handled knife concealed in his right pant leg. 

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 towards the conductor. 

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

At sentencing, Judge Conley said that Thomas’s actions not only affected the conductor, but he 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.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Chadwick M. Elgersma prosecuted this case.