Decade After Derailment, Metra Approves $1.8 M Settlement

Injured family asks for safety changes

Nearly a decade after a Plainfield family was injured in a Metra train derailment, the transit board has approved a $1.8 million settlement.

Kathryn, Steven and Megan Kuk were among 45 people injured in the Oct. 12, 2003, incident on Chicago's South Side. The family was on their way home from watching Steven Kuk complete the Chicago Marathon when the train missed a stop light and derailed at 68 mph.

Kathryn Kuk, 54, suffered multiple injuries, including severe lower back injuries, according to the family's attorney. She has since undergone two fusion surgeries and had a permanent spinal cord pain stimulator implanted to deal with the pain. Megan and Steven Kuk suffered minor injuries.

Following the settlement, the family on Tuesday urged Metra officials to install a safety system recommended by the National Transportation Safety Board after it determined the derailment was caused by human error.

“This train accident would not have happened if Metra had positive train control systems in place,” said Timothy J. Cavanagh, the Kuk family attorney, in a statement. ”These accidents are preventable and the Kuk family is calling on Metra to install the safety system immediately so other families won't have to suffer like they have."

Cavanagh said Metra contested the extent of Kathryn Kuk’s injuries, and the case went to trial on Aug. 13. The Metra Board approved the settlement last Friday. It was the final settlement from the derailment.

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