SPRINGFIELD, Ga. -- A hoped shortcut for a Lithonia man who walked to a neighborhood store for a quick Christmas Eve beer and a snack proved to be the long way home when the stopped train he tried to climb over took off.
Effingham County Deputies got a call just before midnight on Christmas Eve to the railroad crossing at Stillwell-Clyo and Long Bridge Road.
The caller reported a man was slapping the window of a train, David Ehsanipoor, sheriff’s office spokesman said.
Deputies discovered what appeared to be an intoxicated man who relayed a strange story, Ehsanipoor said.
“Randy Gaultney, 47, said he had bought some groceries and beer near his house in Dekalb County and when he tried to cross the street to go home a stopped train was blocking his path,” Ehsanipoor said.
Instead of waiting for the train to move, Gaultney put his purchases up on the train and as he climbed up, the train took off at high speed, Ehsanipoor said.
Gaultney’s snacks fell, but he was able to hold onto the IceHouse beer during the chilly ride, Ehsanipoor said.
Ehsanipoor said Gaultney told police Springfield was the first place the train stopped.
“He had a strong odor of alcohol and appeared intoxicated when deputies arrived,” Ehsanipoor said.
Deputies checked a receipt Gaultney had from the store, and it showed his purchases were made about noon.
Deputies contacted CSX Railroad. CSX said they wanted to prosecute Gaultney.
He was arrested and charged with criminal trespass, intrusion upon railroad tracks and riding a train without a ticket. Gaultney was transported to the Effingham County jail.
“He had a long, cold night and then spent Christmas in jail,” Ehsanipoor said.
According to jail records, Gaultney is also on active probation.
Gaultney was released from jail on Dec. 26.
The sheriff’s office had no information on Gaultney’s transportation back to Dekalb County.