News & Reviews News Wire Family of Metra passenger killed in May accident files suit

Family of Metra passenger killed in May accident files suit

By Trains Staff | June 23, 2022

| Last updated on February 26, 2024

Suit claims construction work around Clarendon Hills grade crossing created unsafe conditions

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Stainless steel bilevel passenger car with part of side torn open
A Metra cab car shows damage from the May 11 collision in Clarendon Hills, Ill., that killed a passenger. National Transportation Safety Board

CHICAGO — The family of a Metra passenger killed in a May 11 grade-crossing accident has filed suit against the commuter agency and BNSF Railway, as well as the moving company whose truck was involved in the accident and the driver of the truck.

The Daily Herald reports the suit filed Wednesday in Cook County court charges negligence on the part of Metra, BNSF Railway, and Del’s Moving in the death of 72-year-old Christina Lopez of Downers Grove, Ill. Lopez was killed, and four other people were injured, when an inbound Metra BNSF Line train struck the truck at the Prospect Avenue grade crossing in Clarendon Hills, Ill. Preliminary information from the National Transportation Safety Board indicates Lopez was killed when she was ejected through a window [see “Passenger killed in Metra accident was ejected …,” Trains News Wire, May 13, 2022].

The suit also claims road work on both sides of the Prospect Avenue crossing — the only grade crossing in Clarendon Hills — created unsafe conditions, with vehicles stuck on the crossing because of traffic and some near-misses with trains. The crossing “constituted a particular hazard to the public and to passing trains,” the suit says, arguing that trains should have operated at reduced speeds through that crossing, and train crews should have been educated to watch for vehicles on the tracks.

The NTSB’s investigation of the accident is ongoing.

4 thoughts on “Family of Metra passenger killed in May accident files suit

  1. Hey folks! I’m no lawyer, but here’s my understanding. The victim’s families sues the company that sold the ticket, which is METRA. METRA and BNSF sue (or settle with) whomever they claim caused the crash or contributed to the crash.

  2. There are two interesting points about the suit: First, even though the suit claims that road construction work created unsafe conditions neither the construction company nor the government contracting the work is sued. Second, the suit essentially says that Metra and BNSF are at fault for the general public engaging in knowing unsafe acts.

  3. After settling with the family look for a new set of bollards to go up at this crossing in response to insurance demands. As for Del’s Moving, they will probably do what most small businesses do when facing a large insurance payment next year. They will close, reopen under a new name with Del’s wife as the owner and start over.

  4. Without knowing all the facts we can at least confidently say the train crew can only do so much when traffic is stopped at a grade crossing. Even at slow speeds a train can’t stop on a dime nor can they swerve. NOT stopping on tracks is basic common sense.

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