I am here to help you in your time of need.- Will Dudley
Attorney at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers
Grade Crossing Crash Involving Tour Bus and Train Kills Four in Mississippi
Many of the worst accidents involving trains and other vehicles occur on grade crossings. I was saddened to read about a grade crossing crash in Biloxi, Mississippi this week when four people were killed when a train struck a bus.
Officials in the southern state said a bus carrying senior citizens became stuck on tracks where it was hit by a freight train. The bus was carrying older people on a casino outing.
Biloxi is a casino town on the Gulf Coast. The charter bus was carrying 48 people. Initial reports said seven passengers received critical injuries. Officials said 41 people were taken to area hospitals including one who was airlifted from the scene.
The circumstances of this grade crossing crash alarm me as a railroad accident lawyer.
The Texas-based charter bus was traveling north on Main Street when it became stuck crossing the tracks. It was hit by an eastbound CSX train around 2:13 p.m. Tuesday.
A report on CNN cited a motorist who said it appeared the bus bottomed out as the driver attempted to cross the tracks. Witnesses said the driver appeared to be trying to back the bus up. Some of the passengers got out of the bus before the train hit it. CNN reported there is a low ground clearance sign on each side of the tracks.
Although the crossing has flashing lights and crossing gates, a previous incident at the same crossing points to potential dangers with its design.
Two months ago, a Pepsi truck which was also traveling north attempted to cross the tracks at the same grade crossing and became stuck at the crossing. No injuries were reported in that incident.
The SUV was stopped on the tracks. The victims included the driver of the vehicle. A report from the National Transportation Safety Board found the SUV driver stopped on the tracks before the barriers came down. One of the barriers hit the back of her car. She got out of the SUV. She got back in and tried to move it when she was hit by the Metro-North passenger train.
A rail punctured the first car in the train and the impact of the collision caused a fire and an explosion.
A railroad can be held liable for design faults and other defects at a grade crossing like poor visibility. In recent years we have also seen a series of crashes involving tour buses in which bus operators can be held liable for driver errors.
If you have been hurt in a grade crossing crash or lost a loved one, you may have grounds to make a claim. Call us at (757) 455-0077.
John Cooper is a veteran of personal injury law practice in Virginia. A native Virginian, he was raised in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. He has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases and recently handled the largest auto accident settlement in 2010, according to VA Lawyers Weekly. The award provided $3.5 million to a child whose young father died when the vehicle he was a passenger in was rear-ended by a careless truck driver.
Jim Hurley has been practicing law throughout Virginia for more than two-and-a-half decades. During his career, he has tried more than 100 jury trials — a staggering number — and handled hundreds more that were settled out of court. He is guided by the principle that the client is in charge of his or her case and should be kept fully aware of the litigation process. Jim has been awarded an AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating given, for his practice of law. He was named in Virginia Super Lawyers in 2014, 2015, 2016.
Bill O’Mara started his legal career in 2008, moving back to his home town of Chesapeake, VA. He has practiced in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury and other litigation. He has gained extensive court room and trial experience, including contested trials before judges and juries across Hampton Roads. In 2014, Mr. O’Mara joined Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers as an associate attorney. He became a partner in 2017.
Cooper Hurley awards three $2,000 college scholarships annually to high school seniors in the Tidewater and Eastern Shore areas of Virginia. Eligible students can submit an essay of 500 to 1,000 words on the subject of Distracted Driving. We established this program to aid worthy scholars and to raise awareness of the tragic consequences of distracted driving, which we encounter too often in our practice.