Riverside, California: Union Pacific cleared of negligence

3 Apr

The Union Pacific Railroad (UP) has been cleared of negligence and the court declined to award damages against UP in relation to the death of two people on a Riverside level crossing on November 1st, 2007

The families of the two women killed in the accident had claimed USD20 million although their lawyer had, in court, admitted that the women were in part at fault, therefor it was argued that at least USD10 million would be an appropriate level of damages.

The accident occurred after the women had attended a Halloween party and while intoxicated one of them had driven off the highway and travelled along a track that crosse the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway’s right-of-way. Realising her mistake, the driver attempted a u-turn but ended up with the vehicle foul of a track on which a UP train was approaching. The train collided with the truck, knocking it into the women who were standing by it with fatal consequences.

The woman driving had at the time of her death a blood-alcohol level more than twice the legal limit in California.

4 Responses to “Riverside, California: Union Pacific cleared of negligence”

  1. Andrew Fraser April 3, 2013 at 09:41 #

    Looks like another missed opportunity. What was it that misled the driver into driving along the track? If we don’t discover that, then these two people will have died in vain, and more may follow.

    • aidannelson April 3, 2013 at 09:57 #

      Driving while intoxicated looks to be the root cause

      • Andrew Fraser April 3, 2013 at 10:33 #

        It’s certainly not wise to drive while out of sorts for any reason. However, in a subsequent accident study, it is sometimes possible to identify defects which drivers cope with, most of the time, but which can become a problem when a driver is not performing as well as s/he could. (Illness, heavy meal, etc.) I wonder what the investigators found – if there was one.

    • aidannelson April 3, 2013 at 11:04 #

      I includes this on LXinfo because, unusually for a jury trial in the US, the court did not apportion any damages against Union Pacific. Clearly there will have been police and railway investigations. However, these are not material to the story as posted.

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