CHICAGO — Three sisters who were inside a car when it was struck by a Metra train earlier this month on the Southwest Side have filed a lawsuit.
Tywla Poe, Passion Ware and a third woman, were inside a Hyundai Elantra on February 12at the crossing near 87th Street and Pulaski Avenue in the city’s Scottsdale neighborhood. The crossing gate came down behind their vehicle.
The women are suing Metra and Norfolk Southern who, according to their attorney, controls the tracks at the intersection.
All three sisters were hospitalized after the crash. One remains in the hospital because of her injuries. Her name has not yet been released.
“The intersection is a virtual no man’s land where drivers get caught, attorney Sean Murray said. “And they’re at the intersection and the gate comes down behind their vehicle essentially trapping them in an area very close to the tracks."
“Unfortunately, our three plaintiffs in this case have been catastrophically injured and will require lifetime care, so we need them to be taken care of,” Murray said.
19-year-old Christopher Davis was at a nearby bus stop when he was hit as a result of the crash. He later died from his injuries.
This isn’t the first time someone died at the crossing. In 2015, two people were killed in a collision with a train.
“The authorities in the past have actually studied this intersection due to the other accidents and the other drivers who have been caught in this situation. Changes have actually been recommended to upgrade this intersection and make it safe for drivers, unfortunately nothing’s been done yet," Murray said.
Metra received funding to update the intersection, however that is not planned for later this year.
Metra released a statement Thursday that said:
While we sympathize with the victims, we feel strongly that this lawsuit is without merit and we will respond vigorously to these meritless claims. The facts show that the lights and gates activated and the engineer sounded his horn. The video evidence clearly shows that driver of the car stopped beyond the stop line of the intersection but was still stopped in a place of safety. The video evidence further shows that the collision could have been avoided had she stayed put. The crossing is in compliance with all state and federal standards, including those of the IllinoisCommerce Commission, and has been properly maintained by Metra.
Accidents at railroad crossings are preventable if drivers and pedestrians obey the road markings and grade crossing protections.Metra