Driver arrested in train accident sues railroad for not having gates

Steve Gonzalez Mar. 8, 2006, 10:00am

A Worden man filed a personal injury suit against Norfolk Southern Railway and one of its engineers claiming he suffered brain injuries when a freight train collided with his pick up truck last year.

Stephen Burlingame, who was ticketed by the Madison County Sheriff's Department for not stopping for a train on March 19, 2005, claims Norfolk was negligent for not installing adequate and appropriate luminous reflective warning signs.

According to the complaint filed in Madison County, Burlingame also alleges Norfolk failed to install flashing signals, crossing gates or other protective devices in order to promote and safeguard the health and safety of the public.

The incident took place at crossing number 480099k near Olive.

Burlingame claims that Norfolk failed to give audible warning by bell, whistle, or horn signaling the approach of the freight train, failed to remove brush, shrubbery, and other vegetation restricting visibility and failed to construct or maintain the railroad crossing so as not to exceed a five-percent grade variation at the crossing.

According to the complaint, co-defendant conductor David Kostenski failed to maintain a proper lookout for vehicles, failed to apply the braking mechanism and operated the train at an excessive rate of speed.

Burlingame claims he has become liable for medical expenses, lost wages, suffered a disability and disfigurement and has suffered great pain and suffering.

According to court files, Burlingame was also ticketed by the at the accident scene for being an unlicensed driver.

Court records show that Burlingame was charged with driving under the influence in 1991 and 1995.

He also has a past history of illegal transportation of alcohol and reckless driving.

Burlingame is represented by Robert Gregory of Alton.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron.

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