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