Questions Over the Deaths of Two CSX Railroad Workers in Washington D.C.

Alarming questions linger over the deaths of two CSX railroad workers in Washington D.C. last month following reports they got off their train to inspect a problem.

According to the Washington Post, the men got off their freight train to identify what triggered an alarm. The men were inspecting an issue with the wheels, causing the train to stop, National Transportation Safety Board officials said.

The men were killed when they crossed onto an active track on which Amtrak was running its passenger trains, according to reports. It’s unclear why the workers were on the Amtrak line but the tragedy clearly raises communication issues.

The deaths of two CSX railroad workers are being investigated by the NTSA.

Questions over Deaths of Two CSX Railroad Workers
Deaths of Two CSX Railroad Workers Raise Questions

According to a USA Today news article, the deaths occurred just before midnight in Washington, D.C. near the intersection of Ninth Street and New York Avenue.

D.C. fire and EMS crews responded to the accident and pronounced the two CSX workers dead at the scene.  The two men, a conductor and a conductor trainee, were later identified as Stephen Deal, 20, of Meyersdale, Pa., and Jake LaFave, 25, of Cumberland, Md.

Authorities say that the passengers aboard the Amtrak train were forced to stay on board for several hours before being transferred to another train to transport them to their destination.  Officials also noted that the Amtrak service between Washington D.C. and Philadelphia was put on a temporary suspension during the investigation.

The Deaths of Two CSX Railroad Workers – The Unanswered Questions

The NTSB official is looking at what communication if any, there was between CSX and Amtrak before the crash.

In April 2016, two Amtrak workers were killed by a train that struck their backhoe. Investigations pointed to a mishandled handoff between foremen. The train’s operator also tested positive for marijuana after the wreck in Chester, Pa. A subsequent wrongful death lawsuit cited poor communications.

We are saddened by the tragic loss of life that occurred as a result of this accident.  Our thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives. It is likely that another breakdown in communication occurred in Washington D.C., although we will not be sure until we get more details.

The presence of more than one rail operator on adjacent lines is a potential recipe for disaster and more workers have paid with their lives.

Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers routinely represents injured workers, as well as the families of deceased railway employees.

While these places are dangerous work environments, the employees still have rights to remain safe under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA).  FELA enables railroad workers to gain compensation for injuries sustained while at work who were at least partially the fault of the railroad.

If you or someone you know has been injured on the railway or at the workplace, please make sure to contact an experienced and trusted FELA attorney.  Call Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers at 757-455-0077.

John Cooper

Lawsuit is Filed Over Death of Amtrak Worker in Chester Crash

There has been plenty of speculation about an apparent breakdown in communication that led to the death of two railroad workers in an Amtrak derailment near Chester in Pennsylvania on April 3. Now a wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against Amtrak in Delaware by the family of one of the workers who lost his life.

Wrongful death lawsuit is filed over Amtrak crash

The claim which has been brought by the family of Joe Neal Carter Kr., was reported in Delawareonline..

The suit was filed by Philadelphia attorneys Tom Kline and Robert J. Mongeluzzi, who represent the family of Joe Neal Carter Jr.

Carter was a veteran of the railroad and a longtime Amtrak employee. He was killed just north of the Delaware line while operating a backhoe.

The claim said Carter believed the track was protected at the time he was hit by the train. It cites poor communication and a failure to adhere to appropriate practices and procedures.

The worker was operating the backhoe when he was struck by the southbound Amtrak train at 106 mph. He lost his life along with fellow worker Peter Adamovich.

The lawsuit questions Amtrak’s safety precautions. It says the railroad failed to adhere to its own safety rules and did not comply with safe industry standards.

The family is suing Amtrak under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) in a claim that includes medical and funeral expenses as well money to support Carter’s two children.

The Federal Railroad Administration conducted a wide-ranging investigation in the light of the crash that has examined relevant safety precautions for workers. Recently, I outlined how the FRA has announced a raft of safety measures to protect workers from trains.

The investigation into Chester accident has looked at whether the work crew received the correct safety briefing before beginning its shift, a requirement of federal safety rules. Some insiders have alluded to a failure to implement basic safety procedures before the wreck.

Reports suggested a shunt strap was not in use at the time of the accident, in violation of Amtrak’s rules. A full report is not expected until the end of this year.

If you have lost a loved one in a railroad accident or if you have been injured while working on the railroads, I would like to hear from you. Call us for a free consultation at (866) 455-6657.

John Cooper



Railroad Worker is Killed in Accident at Richmond’s CSX Acca Yard

John-cooperBy John Cooper, Virginia Railroad Worker Injury Lawyer

When accidents occur on the railroad they can be very severe. Rail yards are particularly dangerous places. I was saddened to read about the death of a worker who was killed by a train train early Wednesday in Richmond, Virginia, in what authorities are describing as an industrial accident at the CSX Acca Yard.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported on how police responded at 2:56 a.m. to the yard in the 2100 block of Westwood Avenue. Police said a man was hit by and killed by train while at work.

The death is under investigation by CSX Railroad, Henrico Police, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the National Transportation Safety Board.

Richmond's Acca yard
Richmond’s Acca yard

My thoughts are with those who the worker left behind after this terrible accident. I understand the train was being remotely controlled at the time of the accident. Remote controlled locomotives have been used by the big railroads for a number of years, but they are not as safe as having an alert engineer on a train with his eyes wide open and a horn on hand to warn railroad workers.

Rail yards are dangerous places and the scenes of many fatal and serious accidents. Last September, the media reported on how an industrial accident at the rail yard of the Gerdau Steel Mill in Dinwiddie County, Virginia, severely injured the legs of a railroad worker.

If you are a rail yard worker who was hurt on the job or if you lost a loved one in a rail yard accident, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit under the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA).

FELA has existed for more than a century to protect the rights and health of railroad workers who suffered an appalling number of injuries and deaths before its enactment.

If you are a railroad employee who has been injured on the job or developed a work-related illness or a family member has lost his or her life on the railroad, please call our experienced FELA attorneys at 866-455-6657 today. Your initial consultation is free of charge and if we represent you there is no fee unless we recover compensation for you.

Metro-North to Screen Locomotive Engineers for Sleep Apnea

John-cooperBy John Cooper, Railroad Injury Lawyer

Sleep apnea is a well-known problem in the trucking industry but the problems are less well known on the railroads.

That all changed with the December 2013 crash of a Metro North train in the Bronx in New York, with the loss of four lives. The driver in that tragedy had fallen asleep leading the train to derail. He was later diagnosed with sleep apnea, reported FELA Reporter.


A year on Metro North announced that it would screen all of its engineers for sleep apnea. It has selected a health care firm that specializes in sleep disorders to screen all of its locomotive engineers for sleep apnea.

All 410 of Metro North’s engineers and about 20 engineers who are undergoing training will take part in an initial screening for sleep apnea by the railroad’s Occupational Health Services Department based on the best practices in the industry.

FELA Reporter pointed out the locomotive engineers who are recommended for additional screening will be referred to the contractor, Persante Health Care Inc., which will provide test equipment and training for an at-home, overnight sleep test. The test data will be analyzed and, if necessary, employees will be referred to a sleep specialist for additional treatment or testing.

The tragedy in New York makes me wonder to what extent sleepiness on the railroads contributes to accidents and if railroads are taking the threat of sleep apnea seriously enough. Both passengers and railroad workers could be placed at risk by drowsiness on the railroads.

If you have been injured on the railroad, call our experienced railroad/FELA injury lawyers at 866.455.6657 or see

VA Senator Mark Warner Demands Answers over Fatal DC Metro Smoke Incident

By John Cooper, Railroad Accident Lawyer

Mark Warner, the Virginia Senator, has demanded urgent answers over the tragic incident last week in which a D.C. Metro train filled with smoke last week, leaving one passenger dead and more than 80 others injured.

The Hill reported how investigators said the Yellow Line train was en route to northern Virginia when an electrical issue stopped the train, trapping passengers underground in smoke-filled cars.

Mark Warner
Mark Warner

This was a terrifying ordeal for passengers on board the train. It’s tragic that one passenger paid for it with her life and two were seriously injured.

The National Transportation Safety Board has launched an investigation into the Metro incident.

Virginia has several Metro stations. Warner said he has important questions that need to be answered more quickly than a typical accident probe can produce.

“For those who use the Metro system on a daily basis, [Monday’s] tragic events represent a nightmare situation in which passengers were left in the dark, breathing potentially toxic smoke and fumes, for close to one hour before first responders allowed an evacuation,” Warner wrote in a letter to outgoing Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Chairman Richard Sarles.

As railroad accident lawyers we welcome the Senator’s call for actions.

This terrifying train accident occurred on the Washington DC metro lines, causing the metro tunnels to fill up with toxic smoke on Jan. 12. The incident led to Metro’s first passenger fatality since a high-profile crash on the Red Line in 2009 that killed nine people and led to widespread changes at the capital-area transit agency. Investigators state that nearly 200 people in total were brought out of the smoke-filled tunnel, with two passengers that were in critical condition, an injured firefighter, and 84 other people were transported to the local hospital, but with non life-threatening injuries.

Officials are unsure of what caused the metro tunnel to fill up with what was described to be thick, orange-black smoke. This recent train accident is similar to one that took place in the year 2000, when there was an electrical fire that caused the metro tunnel to fill up with smoke.

Trains and metros can be very useful in our metropolitan society. They are great assets to transportation and the economy, but at the same time trains can be very dangerous. A number of urban railroad systems have come under scrutiny in recent years. I noted how the safety culture of Metro North was recently criticized in an official report.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a train in any way, at no fault of his or her own, please urge the person to seek the proper medical care, and then call an experienced railroad accident lawyer. Call Cooper Hurley at 866-455-6657.

Report Says Poor Safety Record Contributed to Five Metro-North Crashes

John-cooperBy John Cooper, Norfolk Railroad Injury Lawyer

Poor safety management was a common theme in five Metro-North accidents, the National Transportation Safety Board has announced.

The NTSB recently announced it has concluded investigations into five accidents that took place between May 17, 2013 and Match 10, 2014, FELA Reporter stated.

The report referred to a host of recurring issues that included inadequate and ineffective track inspection as well as maintenance, a large number of deferred maintenance issues, inadequate safety oversight, deficiencies in the crashworthiness of cars, roadway worker protection procedures and problems with the organizational safety culture.


These findings alarm me as a railroad/FELA accident lawyer. These five accidents led to six deaths and 126 injuries.

Recently CTNOW reported on how eight passengers were injured when two Metro-North trains collided last year in Bridgeport have settled lawsuits through mediation with a federal judge.

At the same time the engineer on the train struck by an on-coming train that derailed filed a separate suit in U.S. District Court against Metro-North, alleging that the railroad had a “deficient safety culture” that prized on-time performance at the expense of safety.

The lawsuit by Erik Ljunggren was reported to be the first one filed by an employee of Metro-North stemming from the May 17, 2013 crash that occurred when a train heading eastbound out of New York City derailed and slammed into the train Ljunggren was operating coming from New Haven. The lawsuit states he suffered serious  injuries to his right shoulder, which required surgery, his hip, back and wrist.

The NTSB has mad safety recommendations to the Federal Railroad Administration and to Metro North, the address some of the ongoing issues.

Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers helps workers who have been hurt on the railroads across the country as well as passengers. Call us at 866-455-6657.

New Rules Target DOT-111 Tankers to Stop More Deadly Train Explosions

John-cooperBy John Cooper, Railroad Accident Lawyer

I have written on a number of occasions about the railroad industry’s poor safety record regarding the transportation of crude oil and other inflammable liquids.

For years railroad experts warned of an accident waiting to happen because of the lack of protection afforded by cars carrying crude oil. That accident occurred last year when a runaway oil train exploded in the Quebec town of Lac-Megantic, killing 47 people.

Recently the Virginian-Pilot reported on how the government has responded to the tragedy in Canada and a series of other fiery crashes including one here in Virginia in Lynchburg, earlier this year by publishing proposals to phase out tens of thousands of older tank cars that carry inflammable liquids.

The older tank cars with a poor safety record are known as DOT-111s. They are easily punctured or ruptured, spilling their combustible contents. Since 2008 there have been no less than 10 serious spills in the USA and Canada involving DOT-111s.

A number of serious questions remain over the issue, including what kind of tanker cars will replace those that are being phased out.

Transport Secretary Anthony Foxx has said he wants his department to draw up the final regulations before the end of 2014.

As an attorney who helps railroad workers who have been injured in the workplace to make claims under the FELA legislation as well as others who have been harmed by the railroads, I am appalled that it has taken the railroads so long to address this problem. There are thousands of cars out there which will buckle and puncture when a train derails. I fear we will see more serious accidents before this issue is addressed. If you have been hurt by the activities of a railroad, call our FELA accident attorneys now at 866-455-6657.

Railroads Backtrack on Positive Train Control (PTC) Measures Despite Accidents

railroad-accidentBy John Cooper, Virginia Train Accident Lawyer

As an experienced Virginia railroad injury lawyer I was appalled but not surprised to read the railroad industry’s buddies in Congress are pushing back against a deadline to install new safety technology know as Positive Train Control.

This comes despite a rash of recent railroad accidents including a runaway train tragedy that left dozens dead in Lac-Megantic in Quebec, Canada.

AP reported the railroad industry’s friends in Congress are “trying to push back the deadline for installing technology to prevent the most catastrophic types of collisions until at least 2020.”

And that’s about 50 years after accident investigators first called for such safety measures.

The report referenced a 2008 law that called for positive train control or PTC to be up and running by Dec. 31, 2015.

Although some railroads are expected to meet this deadline, most of the industry is complaining about technological and logistical hurdles.

AP reported on how four senators with close ties to the industry recently introduced a bill to extend the deadline another five to seven years.

As an experienced Virginia railroad/FELA injury lawyer, I see the harm railroads inflict on their workers and passengers.

It has taken repeated tragedies to force the hand of legislators. Congress opted for positive train control in the wake of one of the nation’s worst train accidents. On Sept. 12, 2008, a Metrolink commuter train struck a freight train head-on near Los Angeles, leaving 25 people dead and injuring more than 100.

The Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Newport News and Hampton railroad injury/FELA law firm, Cooper Hurley, handles railroad worker’s injuries and injuries on rail crossings in Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia, as well as automobile, truck, and motorcycle injuries and slip and fall cases, wrongful death and medical malpractice. John Cooper and Jim Hurley have over 40 years of combined experience in railroad related injuries.

Cooper Hurley represents families who have lost a loved one through another party’s fault in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News and throughout VA, and north eastern North Carolina.. The firm is recognized by other lawyers as “AV” by Martindale-Hubbell, a national attorney rating service, for our top level of legal skill and highest ethical standards. If you need help or advice about a serious injury, please call us at 866-455-6657 or contact us through this website.

Virginia Woman Ana-Maria Cordoba is Killed in Horrific High Speed Train Crash in Spain

By Jim Hurley, Virginia Train Accident Attorney

In a new blog on the Virginia Personal Injury Lawyer site, my colleague John Cooper reports on how a woman from northern Virginia was killed in a train crash in Spain that claimed 78 lives.

The Norfolk, VA based personal injury law firm, Cooper Hurley with client meeting locations in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Newport News and Hampton, handles automobile, truck, and motorcycle injuries as well as wrongful death, railroad injury cases and medical malpractice. John Cooper and Jim Hurley have over 40 years of combined experience in handling auto injury accident claims. Attorney John Cooper has been named to Virginia “Super Lawyers” since 2010. Cooper Hurley represents people hurt in accidents in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News and throughout VA. If you need help or advice about a serious injury, please call us at 866-455-6657 or see the Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers’ website.

York County, VA Looks Into Implications of Lac-Megantic Runaway Train Disaster in Canada

By John Cooper, Norfolk Railroad Accident Lawyer

The explosion that occurred on a runaway train in Canada earlier this month has led Hampton Roads safety officials to ask how safe their railroads are.

Recently I wrote about the tragic railroad crash in Lac-Megantic in Quebec that left about 50 people dead.

In that crash fuel in notoriously unreliable tank cars exploded, wiping out part of a village. The accident has led Virginia safety officials to ask: “Could it happen here?”

Recently the Daily Press reported on how York County officials said they were prepared for the risks of transporting oil by rail.

The train that derailed in Canada was carrying crude oil in DOT-111 tank cars. The dangers and deficiencies of these tankers have previously been highlighted by the National Transportation Safety Board. Last year our Virginia railroad injury lawyers warned these tankers were a disaster waiting to happen.

The Daily Press reported the Association of American Railroads has required stricter standards for DOT-111 tank cars ordered since October 2011.

But knowing the track record of the railroads I find myself wondering if the improvements are sufficient to correct a design flaw. Furthermore, there are thousands of the old style tankers on the railroads of Virginia and elsewhere.

The Daily Press article noted a new transportation terminal being built by Plains All American Pipeline in York County has not yet received its first shipments of oil by rail and the company has yet to finalize the type of tank cars that will be used at Yorktown.

Officials in York County say they are prepared for the challenges posed by the Canadian disaster and its implications.

“We’ve had a very robust collaboration with each of the owners and operators of the facility so that we have that understanding of what it is that they transport … what their capabilities are for response as well as what our capabilities are,” Paul Long, York County’s battalion chief of Emergency Management Support Services, told the Daily Press.

In the wake of disasters such as the Canadian railroad explosion there is considerable potential for wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits to be brought. As well as the issue of the design faults in the DOT-111 tank cars, the railroad said an engine shutdown may have released the brakes, leading to the 73-car train to slide seven miles to Lac Megantic.

Human or mechanical error on the behalf of a railroad can lead to lawsuits. As a railroad personal injury/FELA attorney who represents workers who are injured on the railroads, I see at first hand the disregard for safety that is sometimes exhibited by railroad companies.

The Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Hampton railroad injury/FELA law firm, Cooper Hurley, handles railroad worker’s injuries and injuries on rail crossings in Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia, as well as automobile, truck, and motorcycle injuries and slip and fall cases, wrongful death and medical malpractice. John Cooper and Jim Hurley have over 40 years of combined experience in handling catastrophic injury claims. The firm is recognized by other lawyers as “AV” by Martindale-Hubbell, a national attorney rating service, for our top level of legal skill and highest ethical standards. If you need help or advice about a serious injury, please call us at 866-455-6657 or contact us through this website.