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» RAILforum » Passenger Trains » Amtrak » Fugitive Fundraiser took Amtrak train

   
Author Topic: Fugitive Fundraiser took Amtrak train
MontanaJim
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News reports say that fugitive Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu took the zephyr from SF and got ill on the train and was taken to the hospital in Grand Junction. Interesting. Wonder if if the lounge car food did him in. Also wonder if he traveled by sleeper or coach.......

http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=local&id=5643329

This story got me thinking. What other celebrities have been spotted taking long distance Amtrak trains? (I heard the singer Jewel wrote some songs on the southwest chief).

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smitty195
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I was on #14 about 10 years ago, and John Travolta and some of his friends were on-board going from LAX to Seattle. He had rooms D and E (deluxe rooms) with the wall opened up so it was a suite. He was a nice guy, and they had to keep an eye on coach passengers trying to get in so they could get his autograph. Luckily, the sleeper passengers didn't bother him and for the most part, it was a normal trip. And there was no preaching of Scientology, thank goodness.
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dilly
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Jim (aka Roger) McGuinn, formerly of the Byrds, has said that he sometimes uses Silver Service trains to travel (by sleeper) from his home in Florida to gigs in the Northeast.

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George Harris
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There is a little better detail of what happened in the Yahoo news;

news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070907/ap_po/democratic_fundraiser;_ylt=AmjkdpFW9obPUtYYxTALTHGs0NUE

According to it, he had a ticket to Denver. Did not say whether coach or sleeper, but for an older rich man with obvious health problems, I would be guessing sleeper.

This appeared to be part of a plan, as it stated that he Hsu had been scheduled to appear in a San Francisco court Wednesday to turn over his passport and ask a judge to cut in half the $2 million bail he posted last week.

Instead, he "arrived by charter jet at the Oakland, Calif., airport about 5:30 a.m. Wednesday. . ." He caught the train in Emeryville at 7:10 a.m., Wednesday, and was taken off the train by stretcher at Grand Junction on Thursday. He was riding on a ticket to Denver. The article says 1:05 EDT, but that seems unlikely to be right, as the "Summer Maintenance Schedule" gives the Grand Junction time as 11:43 am MT, which would be 1:43 pm ET. 1:05 pm local time would be a little over an hour late, which seems about right for the CZ.

It goes on to state that the FBI arrested him at about 9:00 pm on federal charges of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution and that he will be returned to California when his health permits.

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Kiernan
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Unlawful FLIGHT to avoid prosecution?

Sorry, just kidding.

I rode the Coast Starlight from San Luis Obispo to Davis a long time ago and Harvey Korman was on the train. I saw him in the dining car.

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Kiernan

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Gilbert B Norman
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New York Times reports Mr. Hsu was traveling Sleeper. Apparently he was aboard #6(5).

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/08/us/politics/08hsu.html

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Gilbert B Norman
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Suffice to say, The Wall Street Journal is giving this story plenty of "mileage". Great chance to catch a " big player" in Democratic party fundraising on the front burner and in quite unfavorable light.

Subscription site:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118920845515221199.html

Here are the two Amtrak related "brief passages" in the article appearing front page in Saturday's Journal:

Mr. Hsu turned himself in on that matter a week ago, after news coverage of his past -- which began with a Wall Street Journal article about his unusual campaign giving -- had brought the conviction to light and led politicians to hand over some of his campaign donations to charity. Mr. Hsu posted a $2 million bond -- and then he vanished again. On Wednesday, when he was supposed to appear in court in California, he instead boarded Amtrak's eastbound California Zephyr near Oakland. Along the trip he fell, was taken to a hospital in Grand Junction, Colo., and arrested. On Friday, authorities were taking steps to send him to California......

.......A week ago, Mr. Hsu showed up in court in Redwood City, Calif., to begin dealing with the 16-year-old grand-theft charges. He was to have returned at 9 a.m. Wednesday to surrender his passport and discuss a bail reduction and restitution for investors.

Instead, according to an Amtrak spokesman, Mr. Hsu earlier that morning had boarded a train bound for Chicago. Somewhere he stumbled, and at 1:13 p.m. Eastern time, somebody from the train called for an ambulance in Grand Junction. Mr. Hsu arrived by ambulance at St. Mary's hospital 20 minutes later. A hospital spokesman said he was "delirious."

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RRRICH
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Back in the 70's, I was on the CZ a few days before the Democatic National Convention in S.F. Riding on the train with me with author Studs Terkel, a bunch of convention delegates, plus that guy whose name I forgot -- Bill someone (he used to have some kind of travel show on TV, and he ALWAYS traveled by train -- was his show called "Blue Highways?" or something? Maybe someone here can refresh my memory.....)
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notelvis
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There was a fellow in the 1970's (who is still around) who wrote a book titled 'Blue Highways'. The author's, who was part Native American, name was 'William Least Heat Moon'

The book itself, inspired by Steinbeck and the writings of Lewis and Clark, is one that really fascinated me. The author was separated from his soon to be ex-wife and had just been 'laid off' from his teaching position at the University of Missouri. He loads up his old Ford Van and takes off to rediscover America and the people in it driving mostly backroads and old US Highways removed from the interstate. He wrote "A man who could not make a go of things could, at least, simply go."

Good read for those open to a travel book that is not about train travel.

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train lady
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He also wrote one called River Log where he and a friend travel the rivers of the U S. I have that one on hold at thelibrary. If it is as good as Blue Highways it will be a treat. His background is quite interesting. Maybe we could get him to do an Amtrak journey book.!!
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RRRICH
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David - that was not the guy who I met on the CZ back in the 70's. I guess my memory is beginning to fail. Maybe this fellow's show was not "Blue Highways" -- it may have been called "On the Road with ...??????" I still can't remember his name.
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Ocala Mike
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RRRICH, you don't mean the late Charles Kuralt, the long-time CBS journalist, do you? He did a well-known series of travel adventures called "On the Road."

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Ocala Mike

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George Harris
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Back to the original subject:

This from the wall street journal - Sep 10:
blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2007/09/10/traveling-man/

Yes, he was in a sleeper. According to the across the article:

Returning from breakfast, one passenger peeked through the curtains and saw a person wedged against the door. The passenger, Joanne Segale, a retired school-bus driver from Sonora, Calif., knocked on the window but got no answer. Segale said she saw a man who appeared to be in fetal position, bare-chested. "It appeared this person had fallen out of bed," she said.

Eventually, three conductors used the crowbar to pry the door open.

Segale said that Hsu "could not stand. He was acting like he didn’t understand them. They tried to get him up but he couldn’t walk." At one point, Hsu asked the Amtrak attendants if he was in jail, according to Segale.

When Hsu was helped to the bathroom, Segale says she saw "lots and lots of medication in that room. I could see pills on the floor and rolling around."

Amtrak conductors called paramedics, who met the train in Grand Junction, Colo.

*****************
Stroke? reaction to multiple medications? Who knows?

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RRRICH
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Mike - nope it wasn't Charles Kuralt.........
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Kiernan
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Hunter Thompson?

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Kiernan

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RRRICH
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Nope -- it was Bill someone (Mellon? Molton? something like that....) One of these days I will look up my old journals and find out who it was.
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CG96
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William Least Heat Moon is the author of "River Horse." That's who you're thinking of.

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"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one corner of the Earth all one's life."

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RRRICH
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No it wasn't William Least Heat Moon. I'll think of the name one of these days -- for now, let's move on and stop this thread!!!
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