Miners Vehicles Vandalized
By: Arnold Wyrick
By: Arnold Wyrick
Saline County, IL - As if things weren't stressful enough for the miners at Liberty Mine in Saline County, now someone smashed some of the windshields, and slashed some tires on Sunday night.
The problems at Liberty Mine began early Sunday when workers refused to go underground citing safety concerns over a drilling company looking for methane gas over their heads. The second shift of miners showed up for work Sunday evening and some of them went to work underground.
But when they'd finished their shift and prepared to head home, they were greeted with busted out windows and cut up tires on their vehicles.
"I was called out to the mine around 11:30 Sunday night. When I arrived I began investigating the vandalism. There were a couple vehicles that had windows broken out, several had tires cut. And a couple had been scratched with a key or something," says Deputy Bill Duncan of the Saline County Sheriff's Office.
But what's even more disturbing for the miners is that police believe the vandals are their co-workers.
"They work at the mine. They were actually on the crew that was down at the time. But they were some of the workers that didn't go down," Deputy Duncan said.
Police did find a utility knife laying next to a company truck sitting in the employee parking lot. One of the tires on the truck had been slashed.
The UMWA President for the Local #3404 Tom Ellis says no union members were involved with the damaged vehicles.
"And we sure wouldn't condone such a thing. We've got a safety issue that concerns everybody, company workers and union members. So somebody slashing tires, busting windshields is just a bad mix in our problem we already have," Ellis said.
The vandalism is only adding to miners long list of questions about what is really going on at the mine.
"We hope that whoever done this, if they are caught can explain to us why. We don' it even know a reason for it," Ellis said.