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NTSB investigates work-related deaths after fatal train accident

Thousands of miles away from residents here in Arlington Heights sits the town of Walnut Creek, California where two families are mourning the loss of their loved ones who were killed in a tragic work-related accident this month. Because of the recentness of the accident, investigators still do not know what events led up to the fatal accident and are still trying to gather up answers that the victims’ families so desperately need.

The accident took place just days ago when two transportation workers, one a union member and the other a contractor, were struck by a train while they were inspecting a section of the track. According to reports, the train was running on automatic mode, meaning no engineer needed to be directly at the controls. Officials from the Two Bay Area Rapid Transit, who are responsible for operating the train, insist though that an "experienced operator" was present at the controls during the time of the accident.

But even for people here in Illinois, this statement might not ring quite true. If an engineer had been present at the controls prior to the accident, wouldn’t the engineer have seen the two workers on the track and indicated the train’s approach by blowing the train’s horn? This would have alerted the workers to the danger, allowing them time to vacate the tracks and thereby avoid the accident.

It’s because of this very question that the victims’ family members may begin to suspect negligence on the part of the transit company and might be able to make a wrongful death case in the near future. They will of course want to seek legal representation and wait for a completed investigation before moving forward, though it’s unknown if they are in fact considering such action at this time.

Source: ABC News, "BART Workers Killed by Train in Fatal Accident," Gillian Mohney, Oct. 20, 2013

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