Jury: Train company not at fault for fatal accident

Published 10:28 pm Friday, December 11, 2009

A Chilton County jury decided Friday that CSX Transportation was not liable for the deaths of four men killed in a February 2007 accident.

The men died after the van they were riding in collided with a train just off U.S. 31 near Thorsby during the early morning of Feb. 8, 2007. Four other people in the van were also hospitalized.

The men were on their way to work when the collision occurred about 5:40 a.m., when it was still dark.

Family members of the deceased filed the wrongful death suit, which was heard this week before Circuit Judge John Bush.

Attorneys for the families argued CSX failed to maintain adequate crossing signs and failed to sound the train’s horn long enough.

Court records show part of the faded crossbuck sign was broken off. The word “rail” was missing from “railroad crossing.”

Within a week of the accident, a new, reflective railroad crossing sign was put up next to the track.

CSX attorneys argued the van pulled out in front of the oncoming train and that the driver’s negligence was the cause of the accident.

The defense also said the train’s horn was blown on approach, and, despite the condition of the sign, the van’s driver had traveled the road before and knew about the crossing.