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Engrossed Version House Bill 3153 History

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ENGROSSED

H. B. 3153


(By Delegates Boggs, Craig and R. M. Thompson)

[Introduced March 23, 2005; referred to the

Committee on Roads and Transportation then the Judiciary.]





A BILL to amend §61-3-28 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; and to amend §61-3-41 of said code, all relating to creation of criminal offenses for damaging, stealing or injury to railroad property; defining terms; creating an offense for reckless disregard for railroad property; creating an offense for intentionally damaging railroad property; and providing penalties.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

That §61-3-28 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted; and that §61-3-41 of said code be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:

ARTICLE 3. CRIMES AGAINST PROPERTY.

§61-3-28. Obstruction or removal of, or injury to, any part of railroad or canal; penalty.

If any person maliciously obstruct, remove or injure any part of a railroad, traction line or street railway, or canal, or any bridge or fixture thereof, or shall obstruct any machinery, work, engine or motor thereof, or any conveyor of electricity or other power used by the same, whereby the life of any traveler on such road or traction line or street railway is put in peril, he shall be guilty of a felony, and, upon conviction, shall be confined in the penitentiary not less than one year.
(a) Definitions.
(1) "Railroad" means any form of nonhighway ground transportation that runs on rails or electromagnetic guideways, including:
(i) Commuter or other short-haul railroad passenger service in a metropolitan or suburban area; and
(ii) High-speed ground transportation systems that connect metropolitan areas but does not include rapid transit operations in an urban area that are not connected to the general railroad system of transportation;
(2) "Railroad carrier" means a person providing railroad transportation; railroad carrier including a right-of-way, track, bridge, yard, shop, station, tunnel, viaduct, trestle, depot, warehouse, terminal, railroad signal system, train control system, centralized dispatching system, or any other structure, appurtenance, or equipment owned, leased, or used in the operation of any railroad carrier including a train, locomotive, engine, railroad car, work equipment, rolling stock, or safety device. "Railroad property" does not include administrative buildings, administrative offices, or administrative office equipment;
(3) "Right-of-way" means the track or roadbed owned, leased, or operated by a railroad carrier which is located on either side of its tracks and which is readily recognizable to a reasonable person as being railroad property or is reasonably identified as such by fencing or appropriate signs;
(6) "Yard" means a system of parallel tracks, crossovers, and switches where railroad cars are switched and made up into trains, and where railroad cars, locomotives and other rolling stock are kept when not in use or when awaiting repairs.
(b) Reckless disregard for railroad property--
Whoever, with reckless disregard for railroad property or the safety of another, commits an act causing damage to railroad property or bodily injury to another by an act including, but not limited to:
(1) Placing a small object, such as a coin, token, bottle cap, bottle, or can, on a railroad track or rail or dropping or throwing an object, at a locomotive or train;
(2) Taking, removing, defacing, altering, making with graffiti, or otherwise vandalizing a railroad sign, placard, or marker;
(3) Throwing a rock, baseball, or other dangerous object at a locomotive, railroad car, or train;
(4) Dropping a brick or other dangerous object from a bridge or other overpass onto a railroad right-of-way;
(5) Shooting a firearm or other dangerous weapon at a locomotive, railroad car, or train;
(6) Removing appurtenances from, damaging, or otherwise impairing the operation of any railroad signal system, including a train control system, centralized dispatching system, or highway-railroad grade crossing warning signal on a railroad owned, leased, or operated by any railroad carrier, without consent of the railroad carrier involved;
(7) Interfering or tampering with, or obstructing in any way, any switch, frog, rail, roadbed, sleeper, viaduct, bridge, trestle, culvert, embankment, structure, or appliance pertaining to or connected with any railroad carrier, without consent of the railroad carrier involved; or
(8) Taking, stealing, removing, changing, addressing to, altering, or in any manner interfering with any journal bearing, brass, waste, packing, triple valve, pressure cock, brake, air hose, or any other part of the operating mechanism of any locomotive, engine, tender, coach, car, caboose, or motor car used or capable of being used by any railroad carrier in this state without consent of the railroad carrier.
Any person violating this subsection is guilty of a criminal offense. If railroad property damage does not exceed one thousand dollars and no bodily injury occurs to another as a result of any of the aforesaid acts, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, the person shall pay the railroad carrier involved the cost to repair any railroad property damaged, and be fined not more than five hundred dollars, imprisoned in jail for not more than six months, or both fined and imprisoned. If railroad property damage exceeds one thousand dollars or bodily injury occurs to another as a result of any of the aforesaid acts, the person is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, the person shall pay the railroad carrier involved for the cost to repair any railroad property damaged, and shall be fined not more than ten thousand dollars, imprisoned for not less than one nor more than twenty years, or both fined and imprisoned.
(c)
Intent to damage railroad property--
Whoever willfully damages or attempts to damage railroad property or willfully endangers or attempts to endanger the safety of another, by an act including, but not limited to:
(1) Taking, removing, defacing, altering, or otherwise vandalizing a railroad sign, placard or marker;
(2) Throwing a rock, baseball, or other dangerous object at a locomotive, railroad car or train;
(3) Dropping a brick or other dangerous object from a bridge or other overpass onto a railroad right-of-way;
(4) Shooting a firearm or other dangerous weapon at a locomotive, railroad car or train;
(5) Removing appurtenances from, damaging, or otherwise impairing the operation of any railroad signal system, including a train control system, centralized dispatching system, or highway-railroad grade crossing warning signal, on a railroad owned, leased, or operated by any railroad carrier, and without consent of the railroad carrier involved;
(6) Interfering or tampering with, or obstructing in any way, any switch, frog, rail, roadbed, sleeper, viaduct, bridge, trestle, culvert, embankment, structure, or appliance pertaining to or connected with any railroad carrier without consent of the railroad carrier involved; or
(7) Taking, stealing, removing, changing, adding to, altering, or in any manner interfering with any journal bearing, brass, waste, packing, triple valve, pressure cock, brake, air hose, or any other part of the operating mechanism of any locomotive, engine, tender, coach, car, caboose, or motor car used or capable of being used by any railroad carrier in this state without consent of the railroad carrier is guilty of a felony.
If railroad property damage does not exceed five hundred dollars and no bodily injury occurs to another as a result of any of the aforesaid acts, upon conviction thereof, the person shall pay the railroad carrier involved, the cost to repair any railroad property damaged, and shall be fined not more than ten thousand dollars, imprisoned for no less than one nor more than ten years, or both fined and imprisoned. If railroad property damage exceeds five hundred dollars or bodily injury occurs to another as a result of any of the aforesaid acts, upon conviction thereof, the person shall pay the railroad carrier involved, the cost to repair any railroad property damaged, and shall be fined not more than twenty thousand dollars, imprisoned for no less than two nor more than twenty years, or both fined and imprisoned.
(d) The provisions of this section do not apply to any person employed by a railroad who is performing the duties assigned by the railroad or who is otherwise performing within the scope of his or her employment.
§61-3-41. Employees conservators of the peace; special railroad policemen; penalties.
Any person who shall willfully and unlawfully injure, impair, weaken, destroy or misplace any building, bridge, rail, track, sidetrack, switch, rail bonds, spur track, work engine, machine, locomotive, handcar, depot, car, trestle, telegraph line, telegraph pole, telegraph wire, telegraph instrument, or any other instrument, machine, invention, or mechanical or electrical appliance whatever, which may be, or now is used by any company operating or using any railroad or traction line or system, or other line or work of internal improvement, in this state; or who shall obstruct any corporation which is the owner or lessee of any railroad or traction line or system, or other work of internal improvement, in this state, in the use of any such property, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction, shall be fined not exceeding one thousand dollars and imprisoned not exceeding six months. If the death of any person occur in consequence of any such unlawful act, the person or persons committing the same shall be guilty of murder and punished accordingly. Or if any person on a train, or locomotive, or passenger car, on any railroad or traction line or system, is maimed or disfigured by reason of any such unlawful act, the person convicted of causing the same shall be guilty of a felony, and shall be confined in the penitentiary not less than one nor more than twenty years.
If any person shall shoot or throw stones, or other dangerous missiles at or into any passenger car, or other railroad or traction car used for carrying passengers or other persons, while any such passenger or other person is within the same, he shall be guilty of a felony, and, upon conviction, shall be confined in the penitentiary not less than one nor more than ten years. And if any person, whether a passenger or not, shall, while on any passenger car or on any train of cars, behave in a riotous or disorderly manner, he shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction, shall be fined not less than twenty-five nor more than two hundred dollars, and may, in the discretion of the court, be confined in jail not less than one nor more than six months, and may be ejected from such car or train by the person or persons in charge thereof; and such force as is necessary for that purpose may be used by such person or persons in charge of such passenger car or train of cars, with such other persons as they may call to their aid.
The conductor of every passenger car and flagmen flag person and brakemen brake person employed on such car, as well as the conductor of every train of railroad or traction cars, shall have all the powers of a conservator of the peace while in charge of such car or train.
Any railroad company owning, or leasing and operating, or using any railroad or traction line or system lying wholly or partially within this state, whether such railroad be operated by steam or electric power, may apply to the governor to appoint such citizen or citizens of this state as such railroad company may designate, to act as special police officers for such railroad or traction company, with the consent of such citizen or citizens; and the governor may, upon such application, appoint and commission such person or persons, or so many of them as he may deem proper, as such special police officers. Every police officer so appointed shall appear before some person authorized to administer oaths and take and subscribe the oath prescribed in the fifth section of the fourth article of the constitution, and shall file such oath with the clerk of the county commission, or other tribunal in lieu thereof, of the county in which he shall reside. He or she shall also file certified copies of such oath in the office of the secretary of state, and in the office of the clerk of the county commission, or other tribunal established in lieu thereof, of each county through which such railroad or any portion thereof may extend. Every police officer appointed under the provisions of this section shall be a conservator of the peace within each county in which any part of such railroad may be situated, and in which such oath or a certified copy thereof shall have been filed with the clerk of the county commission or other tribunal established in lieu thereof; and, in addition thereto, he shall possess and may exercise all the powers and authority, and shall be entitled to all the rights, privileges and immunities within such counties, as are now or hereafter may be vested in or conferred upon a deputy sheriff of such county. Any appointment made by the governor under the provisions of this section may be revoked by him or her for good cause shown, and such police officers may be removed from office for official misconduct, incompetence, habitual drunkenness, neglect of duty or gross immorality, in the same manner in which regularly elected or appointed county officers may be removed from office. Whenever any such railroad company shall desire to dispense with the services of any such police officer, it may file a notice to that effect, under its corporate seal, attested by its secretary, in each of the several offices in which such oath or certified copy thereof shall have been filed; and, thereupon, the powers of such the police officer shall cease and determine. Such police Police officers may wear such uniform and badge of authority, or either, as the railroad company, upon whose application they were appointed, may designate, and such railroad company shall pay them for all services rendered by them pursuant to such his or her appointment.
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