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 been aware of the dangerous conditions that led to the crash.
Christina Lopez, 72, was thrown out of the train window on the morning of May 11 after the train hit a box truck stopped on the Prospect Avenue tracks. The force of the impact was so great that the wreckage wrapped around the train and tore the side.
Four other people on the train were injured, but none 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. He alleges that Metra and BNSF were negligent and should have been aware of the construction work at the Prospect Avenue crossing that was causing traffic to slow down on the tracks.
According to the lawsuit, other vehicles had been stuck in the tracks at the Prospect Avenue crossing before the collision, and there had been other near-misses.
The lawsuit says Metra should have warned its drivers to approach the crossing with caution and to slow down.
“Metra failed to communicate the actual status 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 over 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 burst into flames.
Lopez family attorney Steven Jambois said in a statement that he expects more parties to 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 responsible for this preventable situation,” Jambois said. “Our hearts are with the Lopez family as they process the immense loss of their mother.”
The lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $50,000.