Wrongful Death Suit Filed in Train Derailment

Two victims found beneath the wreckage of Wednesday's train derailment have been identified

By Charlie Wojciechowski
|  Friday, Jul 6, 2012  |  Updated 5:49 PM CDT
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Attorneys for Burt and Zorine Lindner filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Union Pacific and requested cleanup work be stopped. Charlie Wojciechowski reports.

Attorneys for Burt and Zorine Lindner filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Union Pacific and requested cleanup work be stopped. Charlie Wojciechowski reports.

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Flattened vehicle was found beneath rubble during first full day of cleanup. Jeff Goldblatt reports.

Freight Train Derails, Bridge Collapses

A freight train jumped the tracks near Willow Road and Shermer Avenue on the Glenview, Northbrook border. A bridge collapsed under the train, creating a boom so loud, neighbors said it sounded like an explosion.
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A judge has ordered all clean-up halted at the site where a train derailed Wednesday in Glenview after a couple was found dead buried beneath the rubble.

Two people discovered inside a car beneath debris from the derailment were identified as Burton Lindner, 69 and wife Zorine Lindner, 70.

The couple lived a block away from the site of the derailment, which spilled thousands of tons of coal from the train. Their car and bodies were discovered Thursday morning while crews cleaned up wreckage from the derailment.

Lindner was the founding and senior partner for his firm, Lindner & Lindner, in the northern suburb and had been practicing law since 1970.

"Burt and Zorine were just two fantastic people, well-loved by everyone," said attorney Michael LaMonica. "They traveled together. They volunteered together. They were super close with their family."

Attorneys for the couple filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Union Pacific on behalf of the Lindner family and estate and requested cleanup work be stopped.

The Cook County judge injunction ends at 11 p.m. Saturday night. Until then all activity must cease within 400 feet of site, which means no cleanup and no trains.

"This exact same spot was the site of a train derailment a mere three years ago," LaMonica said. "So Union Pacific knew about this spot, they were supposed to have done something to fix it and obviously they did not."

"Right now, we're seekers of the truth," said attorney Erron Fisher, "and we're trying to find out what happened and why it happened, and clearly, in any community, it's not acceptable for trains traveling through to fall off the track and crush two lovely people."

Glenview police officials said there is a possibility that more victims could be underneath the rubble.

Part of a 138-car freight train went off the tracks at about 1:45 p.m. Wednesday as it went over the bridge near Shermer and Willow roads near Northbrook. The weight of the train's pull brought the bridge down with it.

Railroad officials are looking into a possible connection between the extreme heat and the train derailment, saying the heat could have caused the rails to expand. The couple's attorneys question that theory.

"We refuse to accept the fact that it was hot outside so a train can come flying off the tracks and kill somebody, because that's unacceptable," LaMonica said.

Funeral services for the couple have been set for noon Sunday at B'Nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim in Deerfield.

 

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