Savannah man killed in S.C. train collision - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Savannah man killed in S.C. train collision

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Michael Kempf, one of the two engineer's who died in the Amtrak train collision in South Carolina, was a 15 year resident of Savannah.  We spoke with Kempf's brother, Arizona-based Rich Kempf, who says that before working for Amtrak, Kempf served 20 years in the military.

In between the military and his job at Amtrak, he actually worked as a conductor for CSX. He got his engineering license and then went to work for Amtrak. Kempf says that his brother loved serving his country and would help anyone.

"If you were broken down on the side of the road, he would stop and help you. He wouldn't just drive by and leave you hanging,” said Rich Kempf.  “I mean he would bend over backward to help anybody. You know? He was a good guy. He was a good dad. He's got three boys. It's going to be tough. I talk to my brother every day on the phone and now I'm not going to get to do that."

Michael Kempf is originally from North Dakota and grew up in a military family. Kempf says his brother proudly served his country for 20 years. 

"Once he got out of the army, he joined the CSX so he was a conductor for CSX, recounts Kempf. "I can't remember how many years and then he got his engineering license for CSX and then he left CSX to go work for Amtrak."

Rich also says Michael had seen his fair share of accidents during his time with Amtrak and remembered how chilling it was for his brother to talk about all of the accidents he had seen, wondering if his death would be caused by one of them.

"He was concerned about it," Kempf said. "He even told me. What happens to me the next time I get in a crash. Am I gonna die?" 

Kempf leaves behind a wife and three children. His brother says he will never forget him and everyone who knew him would call him selfless.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash. 

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