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METROLINK COLLISION: PORTRAITS OF LOSS / MICHAEL HAMMERSLY

Diverse lives, one tragic link

A popular teacher, a much-admired boss, an 'awesome' mother and more. . . . In coming days, The Times will continue to profile the victims of the crash.

September 14, 2008|Jason Felch

Enjoyed time with nieces

Tim Hammersly knew what time his brother Michael commuted home to Simi Valley every day on Metrolink. He had picked him up before.

So when Tim heard about the train crash, he called his brother's cellphone. No answer. Then he called Northridge and Holy Cross hospitals. Nothing. He tried the Metrolink emergency number, but hung up after waiting on hold for 15 minutes.

Finally, he went to the family reunification center set up at Chatsworth High School to await word. Family reunions were few and far between.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday, September 18, 2008 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 2 inches; 109 words Type of Material: Correction
Metrolink victims: The profile in Tuesday's California section of Doyle Souser, who died in the Metrolink train collision, said a memorial service would be held Friday. The service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday at Camarillo Community Church, 1322 Las Posas Road, Camarillo. A memorial fund has been established and checks made out to "Doyle Souser Memorial Fund" can be mailed to 2408 Paseo Noche, Camarillo, CA 93012. A profile in Monday's Section A of another victim, Yi Chao of Simi Valley, gave his age as 72. He was 71. A profile in Sunday's Section A of Michael Hammersley, who also died in the crash, spelled his name Hammersly.

Names of the injured trickled in from various hospitals, but no announcements concerning Mike. By midnight, still no word.

It wasn't until 2 p.m. Saturday that the coroner called, Tim said. Mike, 45, was among the dead. He had been seated in the Metrolink train's first car, behind the engine.

Tim Hammersly said his brother, a mail clerk at Los Angeles City Hall, was unmarried but loved children.

"He loved to play with my daughters," Tim said. "He'd take them outside and swing them around, play with toys."

Mike had narrowly missed being in the 2005 Metrolink crash in which 11 people were killed, Tim said. He would have been on the train but was working a night shift that day, Tim said.

In addition to Tim, a heavy equipment operator for the city of Los Angeles, Mike Hammersly is survived by his brother Thomas, who works as a mechanic for the L.A. Fire Department; brother Robert, who is in the military and leaves for Kuwait this week; and a sister who is a nurse at Stanford.

-- Jason Felch

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