RENO, NV - A truck driver who was one of the first on the scene of the AMTRAK train crash June 24 was something of an unsung Samaritan. Now he's its latest victim.
By all accounts Bob Breen was a modest man of less than modest means, but someone who could be counted on to help when help was needed.
June 24th found him on Highway 95 north of Fallon behind the wheel of a truck owned by John Davis Trucking of Battle Mountain, trailing another company driver by 8 minutes.
He was one of the firs to have seen what happened when that other driver's truck slammed into a passing AMTRAK train.
He never told people what he did next until his brother asked him weeks later why he was limping.
"He said he had rescued some victims and helped the injured," says his brother Al.
And somehow in all that chaos, he had injured his leg.
"I've heard that he told others that the incident itself was when he was carrying a lady from the wreckage to the ambulance."
Al Breen says he's not surprised his brother didn't talk much about the incident. "Sometimes people who've been in heavy action, it's hard to get it out of them."
The incident left a lasting impression. "You don't know how bad it was there," Al remembers his brother saying. "He'd never seen such disruption and injuries. And he said I never hope to see it again in my life."
The pain in his leg continued until he could no longer work. Unable to work and laid off he went to the hospital in Winnemucca,
Al says, his brother was told he had a blood clot in his leg. He was treated and released, but later sought more care at the VA hospital here in Reno.
While undergoing treatment Wednesday, he suddenly died.
"The blood clot ended up in his lungs," Breen says, "and it closed a bronchial tube and closed a breathing path off. And when that happened, they tried to revive him, but couldn't and he died that morning."
Bob Breen's death comes at a difficult time for his family. His father died not long ago and his mother's health has been failing.
Breen leaves a wife and a lot of medical bills, but little else. He had no insurance.
The immediate problem Al Breen is wrestling with is raising the money for his brother's funeral. He's selling some of his brother's possessions and arranging a payment plan with a Fallon funeral home.
Still, Al says, they aren't asking for help. They do want something his brother never sought, for others to know what he did that day.