Heirs seek compensation over railroad worker's death

Ann Knef Jan. 22, 2007, 10:57am

The family of an Alton & Southern Railway Co. switchman is suing the railroad over the accidental death of Mardie Olden in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

Olden was crushed between two engines at a rail yard in St. Clair County on Sept. 10, 2006, leaving behind nine children.

Merinda Watson, independent administrator of Olden's estate, brought the suit Jan. 12.

She claims the railroad failed to provide Olden with proper training.

The railroad, she claims, "permitted, ordered and instructed Mardie Olden to work as a switchman and conductor when it knew, or should have known, he was unfit and unqualified to safely perform the work due to his inadequate and ineffective training and instruction."

The suit also claims Alton & Southern Railway "failed to properly monitor and control the movement and location of equipment on its tracks so as to prevent the equipment from striking and crushing Mardie Olden."

"That as a direct and proximate result of Mardie Olden's death, his heirs have been deprived of his financial support and his love, affection, companionship and society," the complaint states.

Watson is represented by Stephen J. Telken of Simon Passante in St. Louis and John Driscoll of Brown & Crouppen in St. Louis.

The two-count suit seeks damages under the Federal Employers' Liability Act.

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