Four young adults ranging in age from 18 to 21 were killed in a Fresno train accident after the car in which they were traveling drove into the path of a freight train. According to a news report in The Associated Press, 20-year-old Alexandra Sanchez was the only person who survived the crash. She remains in serious condition at a local hospital. California Highway Patrol officials say the 2002 Chevy Lumina sedan was driven onto the tracks early morning on August 19, 2013.
The Union Pacific train that struck the car was traveling at about 40 mph, was sounding its horns and had its headlights on. The train, which included 103 cars and three engines, started to brake immediately after the collision. The crash occurred at a private railroad crossing with a stop sign and painted stop lines. However, the crossing did not have crossing arms or lights, officials said. Alcohol or drugs were not factors, according to CHP investigators. The investigation into this fatal train accident is ongoing.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family members and friends of the young victims of this train accident. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Potentially Dangerous Conditions
Train accidents may be rare in California. However, when they do occur that consequences are often catastrophic or even fatal. Whenever a train accident such as this one occurs at a street-level crossing, it is critical to look into whether a dangerous condition at the crossing may have caused or contributed to the incident.
In this case, officials say that although the crossing had a stop sign and painted lines, there were no crossing arms or lights. This incident occurred when it was dark, which begs the question: Why were there no crossing arms or lights at this location? Have other similar incidents occurred at this same location as a result of drivers being unable to see the stop sign or painted lines in the dark? Why does this crossing not have crossing arms or lights? I hope officials are looking into safety issues relating to this particular crossing.
If it is determined that a dangerous condition at this crossing caused this tragic accident, the family members of the deceased victims can file a wrongful death claim against the railroad company seeking compensation for damages including medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income and loss of love and companionship. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation and other related damages. An experienced California train accident attorney will be able to advise victims and their families in such cases regarding their legal rights and options.