White Hall, AR – While investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board were looking into what went wrong with a train collision that killed two men and injured two others on Sunday, the victims’ families and friends patiently waited for answers and grieved.
For Andy Johnson and Chad Ursery, Sunday’s collision hit home hard because their long-time friend and co-worker, Chance Gober, was killed.
“He was a really good guy,” Ursery said. “Fun to be around. Loved his boys more than anything.”
Ursery and Johnson described Gober as a great father, avid duck hunter and loyal, generous friend.
“Chance was the kind of guy who would give you the shirt off his back,” Johnson said. “That’s just how he was.”
According to Johnson and Ursery, the train Gober was in was traveling south from Dexter, Missouri heading to Little Rock when it collided with a train traveling north from Little Rock.
They said an average shift for train crews was 12 hours. They said Gober went into work around 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and they believed his shift was almost over when the train crashed around 2:30 a.m. on Sunday.
Both Johnson and Ursery knew the Little Rock-Dexter route well, which they called one of the busiest train routes in the country—running seven days a week. Which, for them, meant a dangerous route every time they got behind the wheel.
“You just don’t ever know when you go to work at the railroad it’s just part of your job and it’s a dangerous job.”