Woman Who Sued CTA Over 2014 Blue Line Derailment Gets $6.5M

A Cook County jury awarded a woman who was injured when a CTA Blue Line train derailed in 2014 more than $6 million in damages after she sued the Chicago Transit Authority.

Yolanda Montes, 37, was one of 32 people who were injured when the Blue Line train derailed onto the platform and up an escalator at the O’Hare station on March 24, 2014, according to the lawsuit, filed April 29, 2014, in Cook County circuit court. She was awarded $6,654,000 in a jury decision Friday.

Montes was heading to work in the sixth car on the train when it crashed, according to Christopher M. Norem, the attorney representing Montes.

The force of the crash caused her head to strike a metal pole inside the train car and a door, causing injuries to her head, neck and back, Norem said. [[251893171, C]]

At least eight of the passengers injured in the crash filed lawsuits against the transit agency, which fired the train operator Brittney Haywood 11 days later. 

Haywood admitted to falling asleep moments before the crash, and she had previously dozed off while operating a train the month prior, passing the Belmont station on the Blue Line. [[252057331, C]]

In its investigation into the crash, the National Transportation Safety Board said the CTA shared blame for the incident by failing to take fatigue of its employees into account, as well as for using antiquated safety systems that failed to override the operator and bring the train to a stop.

In the months after the crash, the CTA began to implement changes in the scheduling of rail operators, adopting new rules that an agency spokesman said were among the most stringent in the nation.

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