Two Cars Crashed Into Train Due to Failed Warning Lights

In 2011, several people were critically injured in train collisions when two cars slammed into a parked train in Chicago, Illinois. According to the reports, a man and a friend were traveling in their 2003 Nissan Maxima on South Halsted, and the next minute they slammed into a “pitch black” freight train that was stopped across the street. Not long after, another car struck the freighter from the other side. Police and fire officials had confirmed that there were no working lights or barriers. According to the 44-year old driver of the Maxima, “There were no lights, no barrier, no flares, no nothing.”

According to officials, the barriers and lights maintained by the rail company at the crossing were not working when the vehicles crashed into the stopped train from both sides near 90th street around 3 am. According to an official with the Federal Railroad Association who had investigated the accident, the lights and barriers had been deliberately disabled because snow buildup and salt had stopped them from working correctly. “They did the responsible thing, which is to take them out of service,” according to an unnamed official. However, the official further indicated that he didn’t know how long they had been out of service and said that the protocol of setting up traffic notification varies due to the crossing.

A railroad crewmember indicated that he had left flares on either side of the train, but investigators say it is unclear if the flares were still burning at the crash time. Under the described circumstance, a train crew usually is supposed to flag down traffic and stay at the crossing until the train passes.

A spokesperson for the train company declined to say whether the train crew followed the proper protocol indicating that the investigation needed to be completed before comment.

This incident clearly shows the dangers when train warnings and safety lights are not working. Serious injuries and fatalities occur all too often when lights aren’t working. Lights and gates must be not only installed at railroad crossings but must also be working to avoid serious injuries and deaths.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a railway-related accident, it is important to call experienced personal injury attorney Zane T. Cagle of The Cagle Law Firm. Also, if you are a railway employee who was hurt while working, you may have a claim through the Federal Employers Liability Act. Call (314) 276-1681 for your free consultation today!

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The Cagle Law Firm serves accident and injury clients throughout St. Louis and the greater St. Louis metropolitan area, including the eastern Missouri and southern Illinois communities. If you or a loved one needs legal assistance with your personal injury case, call The Cagle Law Firm at (314) 276-1681 or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.

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