Union Pacific blamed in Madison County for Mason City crossing decline

By Kelly Holleran | Jul 23, 2012


A woman claims she sustained a spinal fracture after a vehicle in which she rode slammed to the ground due to the bumpy slopes caused by two railroad tracks.

Kristina Carter filed a lawsuit July 12 in Madison County Circuit Court against Union Pacific Railroad Company.

In her complaint, Carter claims she rode in a vehicle Martin Prescott was driving over railroad tracks located at 1600 North Road in Mason City, Ill. The two railroad tracks, which sit side by side, have a steep increase followed by a sudden, 7.5 percent drop, according to the complaint.

"The vehicle that carried Kristina Carter traveled up the incline (mimicking a ramp) and encounter(ed) an immediate decline with a second, subsequent 7.5 percent decline, which caused the vehicle to launch into the air and slam down on the ground with great force," the suit states.

In addition to her spinal fracture, Carter, who is disabled with a lower extremity paralysis, experienced severe physical pain and mental anguish and suffered emotional distress because of the incident, the complaint says. She also claims she incurred substantial medical costs, endured an impaired future earning capacity and was hindered from attending to her normal duties.

Carter blames Union Pacific for causing her injuries, saying the railroad negligently operated a defective railroad crossing, constructed an unsafely graded crossing, failed to conform the surface of the road to the elevation of the rails and permitted an unreasonable hazard to exist at the crossing.

In her complaint, Carter seeks compensatory damages, plus costs.

Jonathan T. Nessler and Maria A. Gust of Nessler and Associates in Springfield will be representing her.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 12-L-989.

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