We hope you and your family had a memorable July 4th holiday. Millions of Illinoisans commemorated Independence Day the traditional way – with picnics, barbecues, lake trips, and fireworks shows. Unfortunately, this year’s 4th of July will be remembered with grief and sadness for one family in the northern Chicago suburb of Glenview.
That’s because two people were killed when a freight train derailed on the Northbrook-Glenview border on Wednesday in Cook County. According to witnesses, two train cars left the tracks near the intersection of Willow and Shermer Roads, and the ensuing derailment caused a bridge to collapse. To make matters worse, the bodies of the husband and wife were not discovered until Thursday morning when cleanup crews found the victims’ crushed Lexus underneath coal and bridge rubble on Shermer Road.
On Friday, one of the couple’s sons filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Union Pacific, which is responsible for the upkeep and safety of the tracks near the derailment site. In conjunction with the suit, a judge ordered that all cleanup work be temporarily suspended while the site is examined for evidence relating to the deaths of the two victims.
Ironically, the tracks were inspected the day of the train accident because of the extreme heat that was bearing down on Illinois. Inspectors say they found nothing wrong with the tracks. Although it will take months for Union Pacific and the Federal Railroad Administration to determine the cause of the train derailment, the preliminary hypothesis is that the intense heat caused the rails to expand, the train to derail, and the bridge to collapse onto the car.
The wrongful death lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $150,000 for grief, sorrow, and loss of companionship. Depending on what is unearthed at the derailment site, the suit could be amended at a later date.