Union Pacific conductor sues over accident on way to work

By Kelly Holleran | Mar 23, 2010

A Union Pacific employee claims he suffered a herniated disc after a driver collided with another vehicle while transporting the employee to work.

Christopher Wardwell filed a lawsuit March 9 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Union Pacific Railroad Company, Professional Transportation and Regeania Broughton.

Wardwell claims Broughton, who worked for Professional Transportation, picked him up at Dupo yard and drove him to a train in Chester, where he intended to perform his conductor duties on Aug. 9, 2008. However, in the midst of the drive to Chester, Broughton collided with a vehicle driven by Erin Behnken, according to the complaint.

Because of the accident, in addition to his herniated disc, Wardwell suffered annular tears in his lumbar spine and an aggravation of a pre-existing degenerative disc disease, had to undergo surgery, lost wages, incurred medical costs and experienced pain and suffering, the suit states. In addition, he experienced a diminished ability to work and enjoy his normal activities, the complaint says.

Wardwell blames Union Pacific in part for causing his injuries, saying the company failed to provide him with a safe place to work and failed to require its managers not to place employees in vans on the road after 10 p.m. and before 6 a.m. to avoid an accident with an intoxicated driver.

He also names Professional Transportation and its employee, Broughton, as defendants, saying they negligently failed to keep a proper lookout for an approaching vehicle, failed to follow the rules of the road and failed to provide Broughton with adequate rest time.

In his three-count complaint, Wardwell seeks a judgment of more than $150,000, plus costs.

Mark P. DuPont of Dupo will be representing Wardwell.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-106.

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