High school graduation day should be a time of celebration and transition for students and their parents. Every high school senior should feel the sense of accomplishment associated with caps and gowns and diplomas. So the occasion becomes tragic and poignant when a fatal accident involving high school seniors happens on the day of their graduation. The joy of the occasion is replaced with a solemn mood for all those involved.
Two years ago, this unfortunately set the mood at an Ohio high school graduation. Two seniors and three of their friends were involved in an accident at a CSX railroad crossing. Only one of the students survived the car crash. Families of three of the students have now filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the railroad and officials in the counties bordering the scene of the accident.
The police have reported that the place where the accident occurred has a steep grade that is known to be used to launch vehicles into the air; nothing in the accident investigation showed that the students were purposely trying to jump the vehicle at the time of the tragic crash.
Instead the suit alleges that the railroad and the government did not keep the crossing and the surrounding road properly maintained. Since the accident, the railroad has spent $450,000 upgrading safety at the crossing. In addition, the Ohio Department of Transportation recommended that the speed limit at the crossing be reduced and LED warning lights be installed.
The wrongful death lawsuit is seeking damages for negligence and punitive damages. Regardless of the outcome of the lawsuit, four promising lives have been cut short, while families and classmates will forever feel the effects of the tragedy.
Source: Medina County Gazette, “Families of killed Brunswick students sue over 2012 crash,” David Knox, June 3, 2014