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Now in the hospital, Hurley was ready to talk about his relationship with the FBI and give an update on the Amtrak investigation.
"I was supposed to not speak about this, but after everything that's happened to me and my career being cost, it's time to tell the story," he said.
"I was ordered by the FBI not to talk about the wreck," he continued, "me being the first one on the scene and them not knowing who did it, they focused on EMS workers."
Here was Hurley's fantasy about having been the first firefighter at the Amtrak wreck. He'd even recited it in a letter to a Maricopa County Superior Court judge begging an early release from jail.
He had been in frequent contact with the FBI, he maintained, and it was pressing him on Steve Mills, and, in fact, it wanted his records of a training session that Hurley had presented to his fellow firefighters. Mills supposedly had interrupted that session to interject a word about how easy it was to derail trains.
Neither Larry Leforte nor Ron Sattelmaier, who succeeded Mills as Tonopah fire chief, remembers that incident.
During the weeks following his hospitalization, Hurley got a job working for the Arizona Republic. He stuck by his story: The FBI wanted his records, and his lawyer, Daniel Inserra, was negotiating with it. But none of it checked out.
When asked whether Hurley was really in contact with the FBI, Inserra blurted out, "If he is, it's without . . .," then stopped, realizing he couldn't speak without violating attorney-client privilege.
Then he conceded, "You'll probably guess by my answer."
The Splitrail investigation lumbers on.
The FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office assure New Times that indictments are not imminent. Rumors are.
A source who claims to be familiar with the investigation whispers that the FBI knows who did it and is just waiting to gather enough evidence to prove it. Another confides that the trail is cold and all leads fizzling.
Jack Callahan says the FBI is waiting by the phone.
"We're not going to solve it," he says. "Somebody's going to solve it for us."
Contact Michael Kiefer at his online address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Published:In "Trainspotting" (Michael Kiefer, July 16), former Tonopah fire department captain Steve Allen Hurley was mistakenly identified as having been accused and acquitted of sexual assault in 1989. In fact, that case involved another man by the same name. New Times regrets the error.