John Michael Holly, 24, was sentenced yesterday to 10 years in prison -- the maximum -- for intentional destruction of railroad property stemming from a train derailment caused when Holly placed a bulldozer across tracks in Laurel last September.
Holly, whose last known address was in Laurel, had been charged with attempted murder after the derailment, which occurred near Cherry Lane between Rtes. 1 and 197. He pleaded guilty to the lesser charge in Prince George's County Circuit Court last month after Assistant State's Attorney David Simpson decided it would have been difficult to convict Holly of attempted murder, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.
Holly first tried to remove a part of the railroad tracks from their bed with a bulldozer that had been parked at a nearby construction site, county police said, and then moved the bulldozer onto the tracks.
Four engines and 15 rail cars came off the Baltimore & Ohio railroad tracks, county police said, scattering wreckage about 25 feet away from an apartment complex. None of the freight train's four crew members was injured.
Damage to the train and tracks and cleanup cost about $2 million, Simpson said. But there was no order for Holly, who has no assets and no job, to make restitution.
Circuit Judge Audrey E. Melbourne, who sentenced Holly, got no response when she asked him why he committed the crime.