UPDATED: Sheriff answers questions about train deaths
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond is answering questions about the deaths of two young adults killed by a train near Sale Creek last week.
Michael Hennen, 27, and his friend Hannah Barnes, 19, were killed by a train about 6:00 a.m. on August 22 near property owned by Hennen's family.
According to Sheriff Hammond, Hennen and Barnes appeared to by lying on the asphalt portion of the tracks, embracing each other at the time they were hit.
The train was travelling at about 45 miles per hour at the time of the impact. Investigators say the train's engineer would have only had three to four seconds to stop.
"It appeared they were in an embrace. Then [Barnes] was knocked off tracks. Hennen was dragged under the train several feet," Sheriff Hammond says.
However, Sheriff Hammond says, "this was not a death wish."
"Victims were seen at Walmart on Signal Mountain Road and a convenience store earlier that night," says Hammond. "The victims texted the McDonald farm owners to say they would come by to take a swim. That was around 3:00 a.m."
Investigators say they found beer near tracks were the two were found.
"We are waiting on a toxicology report," says Sheriff Hammond. "that should take two to four weeks."
Sheriff Hammond issued a warning ot anyone playing near tracks.
"We want to say this to anyone, be very careful when doing business around railroad tracks."
We know both hennen and barnes were coming off full shifts, and the sheriff says the two were tired from the day.
He's waiting on toxicology results, and that could take up to four weeks.
As of right now, Hammond says the investigations closed.
Barnes is the granddaughter of Marion Barnes, who led Covenant College for more than a decade.
Hennen's father, Tim, started two of Chattanooga's most popular restaurants, Big River Grille and Hennen's.