A Fairfax man was sentenced to nearly three years in prison this week after prosecutors said he admitted leaving a car at a railroad crossing in 2013 so he could collect insurance benefits after an Amtrak train crashed into it.
The US Attorney’s Office said 34-year-old James Love was sentenced in federal court Wednesday to 46 months imprisonment. Love had pleaded guilty in June to charges of: conspiracy to commit wire fraud, cause a train wreck/interfere with a train operator and to being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. US District Judge J. Michelle Childs also sentenced Love to three years of federally-supervised release, and ordered Love to pay Amtrak nearly $47,000 in restitution.
Prosecutors said Love and Deon Roberts parked a car at an Allendale railroad crossing in September 2013, as an oncoming Amtrak passenger train approached. Investigators said the two men got out of the car prior to the collision, but returned to the car afterwards and feigned injury. Love’s guilty plea states he did so for the purpose of submitting bogus claims for personal injuries and other losses. Roberts is still awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty in November.
The police chief in the nearby town of Varnville later told reporters the damaged car had previously been reported stolen from his jurisdiction.
Love also pleaded guilty to the firearms charge, stemming from a separate incident. A Fairfax police officer reported seeing Love walking down the road in August 2013 with a shotgun in his hand. When the officer turned his car around, Love laid the firearm down and kept walking. The officer approached and asked Love why he was walking down the street with a shotgun. The other man answered that someone at the club had been talking negatively toward him. Love was detained on a state weapon charge and the loaded shotgun was seized. Further investigation revealed that Love was prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition based upon prior state convictions for distribution of cocaine, failure to stop for blue light, and possession of crack cocaine.