Edwardsville attorney Melanie R. Swearengen died earlier this month when her vehicle became stuck on train tracks in Brighton and was hit by an Amtrack train.
Swearengen, 35, died Aug. 2 when she drove her SUV off the road and it became stuck on the train tracks near Route 111 and Main Street in Brighton. She was hit by an Amtrack train traveling to St. Louis from Chicago around 10 p.m.
Swearengen was an associate attorney at Napoli Shkolnik PLLC's Edwardsville office in the firm’s asbestos department. She represented clients in both Missouri and Illinois.
She had prior experience in all stages of litigation in personal injury and workers’ compensation.
Napoli Shkolnik provided a statement of condolences on Swearengen’s professional profile on the firm’s website.
“Melanie was a dedicated attorney who advocated for her clients but was also a caring friend and loving wife and mother. She will be missed. Our prayers and thoughts are with her loved ones,” the statement read.
Swearengen earned her B.A. and M.B.A. from Florida A&M University and her J.D. from St. Louis University Law School.
“It was no surprise that Melanie became a lawyer. Most people knew better than to press her bubbly personality too far, as her sharp mind could decimate anyone’s argument,” her obituary states. “Whether in a courtroom or at a party, she delivered each verbal jab with her classic, captivating smile.”
Swearengen was admitted to the Bar for Illinois, Missouri and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. She was also a member of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis and the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys.
Swearengen served as a judicial intern for Judge Michael B. Calvin in the St. Louis City Circuit Court and has prior experience with the Sievers & Borcherding firm in Clayton, Mo.
She also served as a board member with United Cerebral Palsy Heartland and Downtown Children’s Center.
She was also brought up in The Antioch Baptist Church of St. Louis, where she was involved in the puppet ministry and youth choir, her obituary states.
Swearengen’s professional profile states that she loved to travel and hoped to reach her seventh continent soon.
She leaves behind husband, Shaun, and nine-month-old daughter, Olivia.
“You could always tell when Melanie arrived at an event. Usually the shortest person in the highest heels, with the most infectious laughter & entertaining stories, she jokingly called herself fun-sized,” her obituary states. “The joy she brought to the world is equaled by the pain of her loss, & the strength of her memory in those who loved her.”