A lawsuit involving a fatal Amtrak crash near Philadelphia blames a “colossal miscommunication” for the deaths of two rail workers killed when a train traveling 106 mph struck a backhoe on the same track. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the family of one victim, 61-year-old Joe Neal Carter Jr., who was working overtime on a Sunday morning. He was operating the backhoe on the track when the Amtrak train struck him. The other person killed was Carter’s supervisor, Peter Adamovich. The precise cause of the April 3 crash remains under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
The speeding train was approaching a sharp curve shortly after leaving Philadelphia for New York and hit the backhoe. The NTSB concluded last month that the engineer was distracted by word that a nearby commuter train had been hit by a rock. The agency also said a contributing factor was the railroad industry’s decades-long failure to fully install positive train control – GPS-based technology – that can automatically slow trains that are going over the speed limit. It’s believed that similar safety systems could have averted the April crash just south of Philadelphia that killed the rail workers.
The southbound train was heading from New York to Savannah, Ga., when it struck the backhoe in Chester in the early morning hours. The impact derailed the lead engine of the train, which was carrying more than 300 passengers and seven crew members. More than 40 people were hospitalized, most with minor injuries. Investigators have said the train engineer had just five seconds to brake after seeing something up ahead on the track. The Federal Railway Administration has suggested the crash followed a breakdown in communications and issued a directive ordering Amtrak to retrain rail workers on basic safety rules. Carter had worked for Amtrak for 40 years at the time of his death. His family is represented in the suit by Bob Monguluzzi and Tom Kline.
Source: Insurance Journal