BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Ellen Brennan Reiche, age 24, was 1 of 2 women arrested the night of Saturday, November 28, 2020, after they were contacted by law enforcement while placing a ‘shunt’ on BNSF Railway tracks.
Last week, Reiche, who had been found guilty in a jury trial to a charge of interference with a railroad signaling system during that incident, was sentenced in US District Court in Seattle to 366 days in custody in a federal detention facility followed by 3 years of supervised release. She will also be required to participate in a mental health program and perform 100 hours community service.
According to a press release from the Department of Justice (DOJ), Assistant United States Attorney Sok Jiang told the jury during her closing argument, Reiche “disrupted the signal system designed to stop trains from crashing into each other or crashing into cars…. A car driving through the intersection (near the shunt) would not have warning that a train was coming.”
Co-defendant, Samantha Frances Brooks, age 28, pled guilty to interference with a railroad signaling system and was sentenced in October to 6 months in custody in a federal detention facility and 3 years of supervised release. During supervised release, Brooks will be restricted to her residence except for essential travel and will be monitored with a GPS tracker. She will also be required to perform 200 hours community service.