A 17-year-old teenager was hit and killed by a CSX freight train in May 2008 as he stood on a railroad trestle over Black Creek in Clay County, Florida (FL). The teenager was with two of his friends and they were enjoying some fishing when the train barreled down the tracks. The two other teenagers jumped clear of the train but the victim hesitated and wound up losing his life.
The parents of the victim filed a wrongful death lawsuit against CSX claiming that the train was going 15 mph faster than federal guidelines allow. Estimates of the train’s speed at the time of the accident was 45 mph, according to news4jax.com.
The case went to trial and a jury found CSX 60-percent liable for the tragedy. The trestle was posted with a "no trespassing" sign but the parent’s claimed that the train engineer saw the three boys 34 seconds before the impact, but never braked until after he hit the victim.
The mother of the victim remains inconsolable. She described to the jury how she reacted when she found out what happened to her firstborn son.
"I can remember being on the ground in the Winn-Dixie parking lot in Argyle," she said to the jury, according to the news4jax.com article. "I pulled the car over and I was laying on the ground."
The jury awarded the parents $2.7 million. CSX issued a statement disagreeing with the jury verdict, but also offering its deepest condolences to the parents and the victim’s friends.
Our firm is glad to see the victim’s family obtain some semblance of justice through our civil justice system. Obviously, no amount of money will ever be an adequate replacement for what the parents lost, but it sends a signal to the railroad industry that they need to stress safety and caution to their conductors so maybe this type of accident can be prevented in the future.