Two 85 and 95-year-old sisters were kicked off Amtrak train 500 miles from home

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ROHESTER, N.Y. – Two sisters from Rochester say they were kicked off an Amtrak train 500 miles from home. One of them was accused of being drunk and belligerent.

Their choice was either get off the train or go to jail. That sounds pretty serious. But, wait until you hear about these sisters. 

“I love that picture,” Mary Scherzi said looking at photos with her sister Angie Capone.

Mary Scherzi and Angie Capone don’t look like troublemakers. 

Scherzi is 85 years old and lives in Gates. Capone is 95 years old and is from Spencerport. Two weeks ago, they went to New Orleans for a family wedding. The problem started on the trip back. They say they were playing cards in the club car when a conductor told them to stop, it was against the rules and go to their room.

Scherzi asked her why and says she got this answer:

“I don’t have to answer you,” Scherzi quoted the conductor. “And if you don’t go back to your sleeper I’m calling the police.”

Brean: “The conductor of the train accused you of being what?”
Scherzi : “Drunk.”
Brean: “And?”
Scherzi: “Obnoxious.”
Brean: “And?”
Scherzi: “In her face.”

Scherzi says the conductor approached her and her sister sometime between 8 and 9 a.m.

Brean: “Was your sister belligerent, intoxicated and in her face?”
Capone: “No way.”

But when the train pulled into Charlottesville, Virginia police were waiting for them and told Scherzi to leave.

“And I also said what’s my option if I don’t get off the train,” Scherzi said. “Quote and unquote, ‘Either get off the train or you’re going to jail.”’

Brean: “And when you heard jail, what did you think?”

Scherzi: “I said, I don’t want to go to jail.”

Scherzi got off and her sister followed her. They were confused and 500 miles from home. Since then, Scherzi filed complaints with Amtrak and Charlottesville police. The police wrote her a letter on March saying the investigation is “ongoing.”

The sisters found a hotel and booked a different train home the following day.

“I think I was treated not as an 85-year-old woman, not as a peacemaker,” Scherzi said. “I felt like I was looked at not as a human being but as a criminal, definitely like I was a criminal. And I don’t know what I did.”

Brean: “It sounds like, based on your story, you got kicked off because you were playing cards and asked questions.”

Scherzi: “You said it perfectly.”

Charlottesville Police did not respond to my email asking for its incident report, a record of any ticket filed against Scherzi, and their body camera video. In a statement emailed at 5:06 p.m., Amtrak wrote, “We do not comment on specific customer incidents. Amtrak is committed to ensuring the quality of travel and the safety and security of our customers and employees, and we may refuse to carry or remove passengers for disruptive behavior.”