It is impossible to accurately describe the grief a parent can experience after the death of a child, and when the death was caused by a third party’s negligence, the emotional aftermath can become exceedingly complicated. One Pennsylvania family has opted to take legal action against various entities the family claims were responsible for their daughter's death at the Center Street railroad crossing in Milton, Pennsylvania.
The wrongful death lawsuit claims that Norfolk Southern Railroad Company, Conrail, Lycoming Valley Railroad Company, North Shore Railroad and Susquehanna Economic Development Association-Council of Governments Joint Rail Authority are all responsible for the conditions at the crossing that allegedly led to the 17-year-old girl's death. In addition to the railroad entities, the lawsuit also names the driver and the driver's father as defendants in case it is found that the driver failed to properly stop prior to crossing the tracks. The
seeks punitive damages for the girl's death.
The teenager was the passenger in a vehicle driven by a friend when the car was struck by an oncoming locomotive on May 14, 2012. The passenger was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. The driver survived after being critically injured.
In the lawsuit, the mother of the deceased girl says that the crossing lacks appropriate gates and that an obstructed view makes it difficult for oncoming trains to see the crossing. While the crossing does have flashing lights and signs, the lawsuit alleges that the lights often malfunction so they flash when no train is coming.
While no legal action will return the family’s daughter to them, a wrongful death claim may provide some measure of justice in the wake of an irreversible tragedy. When negligence or recklessness results in the death of an innocent person, it is important to hold the wrongdoer accountable in the hope that similar accidents can be prevented in the future.
Source: The Pennsylvania Record, "
Lack of safety measures at railroad crossing blamed for fatal accident
," Jim Boyle, May 27, 2014