There are many ways to get around in Chicago, but our various forms of transportation do not always coexist peacefully. One major hazard faced by car and truck drivers alike is railroad crossings. Malfunctioning signals or gates can leave one's vehicle right in the path of a speeding train.
A train accident like this happened in nearby La Grange nearly one year ago, and it claimed the life of a 57-year-old woman. Recently, her family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the transit agency, alleging that the accident was caused inadequate crossing gates.
According to news sources, an empty BNSF Metra train was headed toward Chicago at full speed on February 10 of last year. At the same time, the 57-year-old woman could not get her car out of harm's way because the vehicle "became trapped on the railroad tracks between warning gates."
In their lawsuit, the woman's family alleges that "Metra negligently operated the crossing gates, lights and signals," and that the train's conductor was not keeping a proper lookout before the crash. They are seeking more than $150,000 in damages, and the Village of La Grange is also named as a defendant.
It is hard to imagine how terrifying it would be to see a speeding train heading toward you and knowing that you are trapped in its path. It is also devastating for family members to realize that their deceased loved one met an untimely death in such a horrific fashion.
If the accident was caused by faulty crossing gates or some other act of negligence on the part of the transit agency, this wrongful death lawsuit will hopefully help to ensure that such an error never happens again.
Source: Chicago Sun-Times, "Suit: Inadequate crossing gates in La Grange led to fatal Metra crash," Feb. 6, 2013