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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Idaho

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Dakota Southern Railroad Supervisor Admits To Negligent Endangerment

COEUR D’ALENE – John Wilhelm Myre, 55, of Garretson, South Dakota, pleaded guilty yesterday to negligent endangerment under the Clean Air Act, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. Myre was charged by information on February 3, 2014.

According to the plea agreement, Myre admitted that between January 25 and 29, 2013, he was the supervisor of approximately five laborers for Dakota Southern Railroad. While the employees were working in Kamiah, Idaho, Myre directed them to use acetylene cutting torches to cut apart steel beams from an old railroad trestle. These steel beams were painted with lead- based paint. When the paint was burned by the torches it became volatilized and released lead compounds into the air. One of the workers was taken to the hospital and diagnosed with acute lead poisoning. Dakota Southern Railroad was not prosecuted.

The charge of negligent endangerment pursuant to the Clean Air Act is punishable by up to one year in prison, a maximum fine of $100,000, and five years’ probation.

Sentencing is set for June 17, 2014, before U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge at the federal courthouse in Coeur d’Alene.

The case was investigated by the Environmental Protection Agency.