Personal Injury Lawsuit – Evanston Resident is First to File Suit in Deadly Amtrak Crash
July 7, 2011
A north suburban woman who was working on the train is the first person to file a personal injury lawsuit in connection with the fiery Amtrak crash that killed six people and injured several others last week in Nevada.
Alexandra Curtis, 38, of Evanston filed the suit Monday in Washoe County, Nev., alleging that truck driver Laurence R. Valli and John David Trucking Co. were negligent in disregarding lowered crossing gates and signals, crashing into the fourth car of the train.
Valli, who died in the crash, failed to stop and plowed through the gates and into the California Zephy train, causing it to “explode into a ball of fire,” the suit claims.
Curtis, an on-duty Amtrak train attendant, was injured in the “fiery” crash, but despite being injured, spent the next half hour helping evacuate passengers and crew from the smoke-filled train, the suit alleges.
It also alleges that John David Trucking failed to hire, train, supervise and evaluate Valli and properly operate their tractor-trailers in a safe manner.
“Early investigation reveals that both Valli and the trucking company have been cited more than a dozen times by various governmental authorities for safety violations over the past 3 years,” said attorney Bill Bradley. “This was a tragedy waiting to happen.”
Amtrak’s California Zephyr was en route from Chicago to Emeryville, Calif., with 204 passengers and 14 crew members on board when the accident happened Friday, June 24.
The suit seeks an emergency motion for protective order in the case to preserve potential evidence, a release from the Chicago law firm Corboy & Demetrio said. The suit was brought both by the firm and its co-counsel, the Reno law firm of Bradley, Drendel & Jeanney.