Two videos are at the center of a $25 million lawsuit filed earlier by the mother of 19-year-old Hannah Barnes, who died when she and Michael Hennen were run over by a train Aug. 22, 2011. One video is being supplied with tight security over its use and the other has apparently been taped over.
Attorneys reached agreement over video taken from the front of the Norfolk Southern train as it approached a crossing at McDonald Farm in Sale Creek where the tragic deaths occurred.
However, all involved are under strict orders that the footage be used only for trial purposes and not wind up on You Tube as one attorney warned has happened in similar cases. Such release, it was stated, would be "not only illegal, but highly prejudicial and cause emotional pain and suffering to friends and family of the victims."
The video is from the "Rail View System" and securing it required paying a licensing fee for software use to the Science Application International Corporation (SAIC).
In court documents, it was claimed that the conductor said he saw a man asleep on the tracks just prior to the incident.
Lisa Barnes was asked in one document how she obtained information that her daughter was awakened by the train, and she said the conductor said he saw "legs up in the air" at the rural crossing.
Lisa Barnes said during an interview with attorneys that she believes the Hennen family "destroyed" the other video - which allegedly showed Michael Hennen and Ms. Barnes at the bar area of Hennen's Restaurant in the early morning hours prior to their driving up to McDonald Farm.
Jonathan Maley, a Hennen's manager, said in an interview with attorneys that he checked out the restaurant videos after learning of the couple's death.
He said the video showed Michael Hennen behind the bar drinking from a styrofoam cup and Ms. Barnes "kind of at the end of the bar."
Hennen's officials said the restaurant video "loops" every 48 hours and begins taping over.
According to court documents, the video of Michael Hennen and Ms. Barnes had apparently been erased by the time that Tracy Miller of DB Technologies was called to examine the video system.
Tim Hennen, father of Michael Hennen, said there had not been a request from anyone that the video be preserved.
Attorney Mark Warren, who filed the lawsuit, said "a major issue in the case is who provided the alcohol to Hannah Barnes that contributed to her death."
He said Ms. Barnes, who was 19 and not of age to drink, had a blood-alcohol level of .07, which is just below the drunk level of .08. He said Michael Hennen, who was 27, had a blood-alcohol level of .086. Defense attorneys Al Henry and Robert Carden disputed the blood-alcohol level readings.
Attorney Warren said he wants to interview all those at a party earlier that night at Hennen's Restaurant for the birthday of Michael Hennen's mother, Corinne McDonald Hennen. Ms. Barnes and Michael Hennen were there. He listed as guests Frank McDonald, Fletcher Bright, Jean Ann Gardner, Paul Brock, Susan Brock, Kate Frazier, Mike Akin, Meg Akin, Bob Hurdle, Mary Hurdle, Paul Neely, Sherry Pollock, Steve Persinger, Karen Persinger, Andy Stockett, Karen Stockett, Henry Glascock, Heather Glascock, Ken Hays and Jamie Hennen.
He also wants to interview all 15 members of the Hennen's Restaurant staff on duty that night.
Defense attorneys said some of the requests by the plaintiff's attorney have been "annoying, oppressive, embarrassing and unduly burdensome and/or excessive."