A former Yazoo City police officer stopped a near-disaster dead in its tracks...literally.
Chris Williams, 26, went above and beyond the call of duty last Friday after an enormous tree fell across the railroad tracks near the intersection of Jackson Avenue and Seventh Street.
Williams, a guard at the Federal Prison and a former Yazoo City police officer, reacted quickly when he stumbled across the tree on the tracks while on the way to pick up his son from daycare. Thinking fast, Williams picked up the phone and reported what he saw to the police department. He also flagged down a city work truck to let them know as well.
"That tree had to have been every bit of four feet wide,” Williams said. “It was huge.”
The situation took a turn for the worst when Williams heard a train whistle in the distance.
"Once I heard the train coming, I said if that train hits the tree it’s gonna derail,” Williams said. “It’s going to get up under there and cause some damage to all these houses on each side of the tracks."
The train was carrying large cars and tankers full of freight and other materials that would have caused a big mess if thrown off the tracks in a derailment.
Williams quickly realized what he had to do. He somehow had to warn the people on the train.
"I parked on Eighth Street and ran towards the train as fast as I could," said Williams, "I ran almost a block. I just started waving my hands and kept waving. I was trying to let them know, ‘you need to stop cause you got something on the track.’”
Finally the conductor spotted Williams and applied the brakes. The train rolled to a stop over 20 yards from the tree, allowing plenty of room for city workers to rise to action to cut and remove the debris from the tracks.
Williams is the son of Harvey and Linda Williams of Yazoo City. His parents were proud to know that their son went above and beyond the call of duty to help prevent what could have been a disaster in the community.
"I thought what he did was heroic,” said Linda, William's mother.
Not one to wait around for thanks, Williams left the scene as quietly as he had arrived and went about the rest of his day.
The people of this community are fortunate to have a person like Williams who looked beyond himself and took the initiative to stop a disaster in its tracks.