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Introduced Version House Bill 3153 History

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hb3153 intr
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 the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §61-3-28a, relating to establishing the crime of railroad vandalism.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §61-3-28a, to read as follows:

ARTICLE 3. CRIMES AGAINST PROPERTY.

§61-3-28a. Vandalism of railroad property; penalties.

(a) Reckless disregard for railroad property or the safety of another.--

Whoever, with reckless disregard for railroad property or the safety of another, commits an act which may cause 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, such as an egg or water balloon, 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 section is guilty of a criminal offense. 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, 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 to perform community service for not more than 120 hours, if community service is available in the jurisdiction where the offense was committed. If community service is not available in the jurisdiction where the offense was committed, the person shall be subject to 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 five hundred 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 more than ten years, or both fined and imprisoned. If serious bodily injury or death 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, the cost to repair any railroad property damaged, and be fined not more than twenty thousand dollars, imprisoned for not more than twenty years, or both fined and imprisoned.
(b) Intent to damage railroad property or to endanger the safety of another.--

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 not 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 not more than twenty years, or both fined and imprisoned. If serious 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-five thousand dollars, imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both imprisoned and fined. If death occurs to another as a result of any of the aforesaid acts in this subsection, 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 one hundred thousand dollars, imprisoned for any term of years or life, or both fined and imprisoned.
(c) Theft of railroad freight.--

Whoever, willfully and with intent to permanently deprive the owner thereof, takes or removes railroad freight from any freight car, including a boxcar, container, or flatbed, is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than five thousand dollars, imprisoned for not more than five years, or both.

(d) Receiving stolen railroad freight.--

Whoever buys or receives any of the railroad freight described in subsection (c), having reason to know that the freight has been stolen, is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than five thousand dollars, imprisoned for not more than five years, or both.

(e) Definitions.

For purposes of this section:

(1) "Bodily injury" means:

(i) A cut, abrasion, bruise, burn, or disfigurement;

(ii) Physical pain;

(iii) Illness;

(iv) Impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty; or

(2) "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;

(3) "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;
(4) "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;

(5) "Serious bodily injury" means bodily injury which involves:

(i) A substantial risk of death;

(ii) Extreme physical pain;

(iii) Protracted and obvious disfigurement; or

(iv) Protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty; and

(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.

(f) 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.


NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to create the offense of railroad vandalism.

This section is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underlining have been omitted.

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