Walter Griffin III

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Walter James Griffin III (born 1979; died December 13, 2022 in Bessemer) was a trainee locomotive conductor for the Norfolk Southern Railway.

Early in the morning of December 13, 2022 Griffin was at the controls of a locomotive operating near 32nd Street and Carolina Avenue in Bessemer. As he passed a stationary Norfolk Southern train facing the opposite direction on an adjacent track, the end of a steel beam which was protruding from one of the stationary gondola cars crashed through his cab window, struck him in the head, and killed him.

The National Transportation Safety Board investigated the death and found that the protruding beam had been observed when the rail car was at the U.S. Pipe facility in Bessemer, but that workers there did not notify Norfolk Southern officials of the hazard before the car was moved.

In January 2023 Griffin's widow, Sherita Fields, filed a civil lawsuit against the railway in Jefferson County Circuit Court, claiming that the company was negligent in not inspecting the loading of the cars at the nearby U.S. Pipe plant.


  • Robinson, Carol (December 13, 2022) "Norfolk Southern conductor trainee killed when metal flies through train’s window."
  • Thornton, William (March 15, 2023) "Alabama woman sues Norfolk Southern after husband killed in ‘freak accident’."
  • "US Pipe workers noticed beam hanging from railcar later involved in deadly Bessemer accident." (October 19, 2023) Associated Press /