Suit claims Bi-State failed to employ guards to keep pedestrians off ROW

By Ann Knef | Sep 25, 2007

Rosaline R. Stovall filed a wrongful death suit against Bi-State Development Agency and Metrolink driver Aretha D. Thomas claiming they are negligent in her son's death.

According to a suit filed Sept. 17 in St. Clair County Circuit Court, Eric C. Byrd, Jr. was crossing eastbound rail tracks near the Scheel Street station when he was struck by a train and killed.

The incident took place at 8:50 p.m. on Oct. 1, 2006.

The suit claims the defendants were aware of a walking path that was used by Byrd and numerous other pedestrians for the purpose of crossing the tracks located between the station and East B St.

Seeking in excess of $300,000 in damages, Stovall claims Thomas failed to operate the train with sufficient lighting or reflection cast ahead of the train so as to alert Byrd of the train's approach or permit the driver to observe individuals on or near the tracks.

Stovall also claims Thomas failed to operate the train at a reasonable speed, failed to sound a whistle, failed to slow or stop the train to avoid injury, failed to keep a proper lookout and failed to keep the train under control.

The suit claims Bi-State failed to install or maintain warning devices at the intersection of the tracks and the path which, by bell or other sound, would warn pedestrians of the train's approach.

Bi-State also is blamed for not stationing a flagman or crossing guard at the intersection of the tracks and path and for failing to employ a security guard to exclude pedestrians from its premises.

Stovall is represented by Michael J. Garavalia of Becker, Paulson, Hoerner & Thompson of Belleville.

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