Trains and cars don’t mix

Every night I enjoy the sound of the train’s whistle as it chugs slowly through West Des Moine’s southern side just south of Grand Avenue near I-35 south. The conductor sounds the train’s horn as it meanders through one intersection after another. Lately it seems to me train traffic is picking up. That’s good for train stock prices but not necessarily for kids driving cars over railroad tracks. A 17-year-old, Krystal Leach from Marcus, Iowa found that out this past week. According the KTIV reporter Kristen Johnson’s article the police department has this youthful driver cutting in front of a Union Pacific train as she turned from Highway 75 onto 12th Street Southwest. It was around 7:40 on a Saturday night. The story states the crossing lights were on; working and the conductor sounded the horn. She still went, and a collision occurred which spun her around and wrapped her car around the crossing light. She was taken to Sioux City’s Mercy Hospital.

One of my good friends works for the railroad. We don’t discuss personal injury cases as I’m sure he’s not a fan. Some of my clients have had run-ins with trains. One, a high school gymnast lost part of her foot as it slipped in between the car couplers as she tried to cross between cars. The train had been stopped and blocking the road for more than the city ordinance allowed. At that time the City of Des Moines allowed a road to be blocked by the train for 20 minutes and no more. For whatever reason this one die and she needed to get to practice and needed to cross the road. The train company paid in that case. That’s one of several ways in which the railroad can get in trouble and be found liable. Others include not sounding the horn as the train approaches and intersection, falling asleep at the switch, operating while under the influence and I suppose having non-operable lights. Speed is another. We’ve managed a lot of different personal injury cases involving railroads over the past 30+ years and like the trains I’m still running down the tracks of litigation. If we can help you with your train-car-truck collision give me a call or send me an email. 515-222-1110 or [email protected].

We wish you well.


Steve Lombardi
Iowa personal injury, workers' compensation, motorcycle, quadriplegic, paraplegic, brain injury, death
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