Riding the train all the way from Minneapolis to Seattle can get a little dull. Last month, Hussein Abdi Hassan found himself on that trip, and decided to make things interesting -- by dropping a bomb threat.
Well, the 24-year-old Somali from Burnsville is probably regretting that unwise fake-out right about now. He never made it to Seattle--since February, he's been awaiting his court date.
Yesterday, Hassan was arraigned in federal court in Great Falls, Montana, where he pleaded not guilty to federal charges of false information and hoaxes.[jump]
Basically, everything went awry near Browning, Montana, when someone called the Glacier County Sheriff's Office because Amtrak wanted an apparently drunk Hassan off the train.
A deputy came to collect him, and Hassan complained. He'd paid for a ticket to get to Seattle for hissister's graduation. And he wanted his bag, which he'd apparently left on the train.
Then Hassan made his big joke.
"Damn fools, all of you. .... You did not find my bag?" he said, laughing. "No one will survive on that train."
Then he cackled a fiendish laugh.
So Amtrak stopped the train and evacuated the passengers. In blizzard-like conditions, old folks and babies had to make their way about 75 yards across a frozen pond and board a bus to a nearby middle school between Browning and East Glacier. A few of the passengers couldn't handle the trip it, so deputies had to go pick them up.
An Air Force bomb squad searched the train and found nothing. The whole passel of westbound passengers, plus 50 more trains, were delayed by a full day because of the big mess.