Victims named in derailment
|Emergency vehicles are shown Friday in Northbrook at the site of Wednesday’s train derailment that caused the collapse of a bridge, killing two people in a car traveling beneath it. Twenty-eight rail cars hauling coal piled up on the bridge, causing the collapse. A huge mound of twisted train cars and coal filled the gap where the bridge had been. (AP)|
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GLENVIEW (AP) – A Chicago law firm on Friday identified a lawyer and his wife as the victims of a suburban freight train derailment that took out a railroad bridge and sent hundreds of tons of coal and rail cars crashing down onto the road below.
Burton and Zorine Lindner, of Glenview, were driving under the railroad bridge Wednesday when the train derailed. Twenty-eight of the rail cars piled up on the bridge, causing it to collapse over a road between the suburbs of Glenview and Northbrook. A huge mound of twisted train cars and coal filled the gap where the bridge had been.
Officials said initially that no one was injured, but workers clearing debris discovered a bumper Thursday morning and later uncovered the crushed car with the victims inside.
Burton Lindner, 69, was a lawyer with his own practice in downtown Chicago where he worked alongside his oldest son, Robert.
His 70-year-old wife was a retired high school guidance counselor, and together they traveled the world and took part in charitable causes.
Investigators believe the extreme heat may have caused the rail to expand and led to the derailment. The bridge collapsed under the weight of the toppled rail cars. Each one weighed 75 to 85 tons. Temperatures soared above 100 degrees in the Chicago area Wednesday.
“That’s what we’re looking at the likely scenario,” said Tom Lange, a Union Pacific spokesman.
On Friday, stretches of twisted tracks, dozens of axles and giant train wheels lay in a pile of tangled metal at the site.
Lange said the company wanted to “express our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of the victims.”
The family filed a wrongful death lawsuit Friday accusing Union Pacific Railroad Co. of negligence and failing to maintain the safety of the tracks and freight cars. The three-count lawsuit seeks at least $150,000 in damages.
“I don’t care how hot it is, trains aren’t supposed to fly off the tracks and crush people,” said one of their lawyers, Michael LaMonica, at a news conference at the accident site.
Their other attorney, Erron Fisher, said the railroad’s cleanup was hasty and scattered, and may have hauled off potentially key evidence.
“This scene is already totally destroyed,” he said about any forensics that could be gleaned from the site.
Lange said Union Pacific cooperated with local authorities to ensure any evidence was preserved and halted debris removal Friday upon hearing of a court order to stop work.
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