Carol Ostrow Jun. 22, 2015, 10:48pm


A father filed a lawsuit against several railroad firms and his wife’s estate following a traumatic freight train accident that claimed the lives of his wife and three of his children in 2013.

Scott Wisnasky, estate administrator for “Dr. W.” and “A.W.”, and Alyssa Sewall, all deceased, and as father and next friend of minor “Dy. W.”, filed a lawsuit on May 29 in Madison County Circuit Court against CSX Transportation Inc. and CSX Corporation doing business in Illinois; Vandalia Railroad Company (VRRC), Pioneer Railcorp Inc. and Pioneer Railroad Services Inc., all doing business in Illinois; John Bradley, CSX manager; and Crystal Anna, deceased, of Bond County. 

According to the filing, Crystal Anna was driving southbound on 6th Street in Vandalia on Oct. 30, 2014, approaching its intersection with Main Street when it was dark and raining. Her children, Dr. W., Dy. W., A.W. and Alyssa Sewall were passengers in the vehicle.

The suit states that where the CSX railroad crossing in Vandalia intersects with two public roadways, and the railroad crossing’s flashing lights and gates are not visible to Main Street drivers.

The plaintiff claims the intersection’s traffic control devices are out of compliance with regulations, and the intersection falls completely within the area where barricades come down when trains approach, creating a unique hazard.

Court documents indicate that Anna’s vehicle became trapped in the intersection when her vehicle was crossing and the gates came down. A CSX freight train struck her car, killing her and her children except for Dy. W.

The plaintiff alleges wrongful death, failure to inspect and repair an unsafe crossing system and provide clear signage and warnings on the railroad’s part, and negligent driving on Crystal Anna’s part.

Claiming shock, suffering, trauma, medical and death-related expenses, Wisnasky seeks a court-appointed process server and judgment in his favor for damages to be determined by the court; plus attorneys’ fees and costs.

He is represented by Bruce Major of Chesterfield, Mo.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 15-L-692

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