The family of a woman killed when a train slammed into a truck last month in Clarendon Hills alleges in a lawsuit that Metra should have known of the unsafe conditions that led to the accident.
Christina Lopez, 72, was thrown from the window of the train the morning of May 11 after the train hit a box truck that was stopped on the tracks at Prospect Avenue. The force of the impact was so great that the wreckage wrapped around the train and tore through the side.
Four other people on the train were hurt, but none of them seriously.
Lopez was on her way to visit her sister in LaGrange. She was the mother of three daughters and five grandchildren.
The lawsuit was filed Tuesday by Lopez’s daughter, Josephine Klonowski. It alleges that Metra and BNSF were negligent and should have been aware of construction at the Prospect Avenue crossing that was causing traffic to back up on the tracks.
According to the suit, other vehicles had been stuck on the tracks at the Prospect Avenue crossing before the collision took place, and there had been other near-misses.
The lawsuit states that Metra should have warned its conductors to approach the crossing with caution and slow down.
“Metra did not communicate the true condition of the Prospect Avenue crossing to the operator of its trains,” the lawsuit states.
The suit also alleges that the driver of the truck, owned by Del’s Moving Inc., drove onto the crossing when there was not enough space to clear the tracks. The truck driver and two passengers got out before the truck was hit and exploded into flames.
Lopez family attorney Steven Jambois said in a statement that he expects additional parties will be named in the lawsuit as the investigation continues.
“Our law firm is thoroughly investigating this tragic incident to determine exactly what led to Ms. Lopez’s death and who is to blame for this avoidable situation,” Jambois said. “Our hearts are with the Lopez family as they process the immense loss of their mother.”
The suit seeks damages in excess of $50,000.