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Family of Bridge Collapse Victims Suing Union Pacific

Union Pacific officials say they were doing safety checks in Northbrook twice a day leading up to the train derailment.

Clean-up crews and freight service have been ordered to halt for 36 hours as experts hired by the Lindner family's attorneys investigate the site of Wednesday's bridge collapse. 

"Union Pacific has already created a makeshift bridge and already has trains going over the spot which shows they are more interested in having their business carry on the day after this tragedy than they are allowing a real thorough investigation to determine why these two amazing lives were taken away from us," said attorney Michael LaMonica. 

Erron Fisher and Michael LaMonica of Fisher & LaMonica, P.C. in Chicago appeared on behalf of the families of , whose bodies were found in the wreckage Thursday.

"We’re here to get some answers as to why something this tragic happened," LaMonica said. "We refuse to accept the fact that it was hot outside so a train can come flying off the tracks and kill somebody because that’s unacceptable."

Tom Lang, a spokesman for Union Pacific said the company was doing everything by the book. 

“I want to express to the family and friends of the accident victims our deepest sympathies," Lang said. "We follow all the federal guidelines relative to safety. It’s in our best interest and our employees’ interest to run a safe operation. We don’t take risks.”

According to Lang, Union Pacific crews were inspecting the rails twice a day, every day during the heat wave. He could not say when the last inspection was done prior to the derailment. He confirmed that Union Pacific was still investigating the cause of the accident. 

“It’s a lot investigation to still go on, so there’s not a definitive answer yet," Lang said. "We have what we think is the cause but it’s months out before we have a final evaluation of the cause.”

Fisher and LaMonica filed a court order this morning to stop clean up and freight service until their 36 hour investigation is complete. They have also filed a wrongful death suit against Union Pacific.

"So far it’s been Union Pacific that’s been doing the investigating," LaMonica said. "If we couldn’t trust them to keep their trains on the track, I’m not sure we should sit back and trust them to lead the investigation."

"The scene is totally destroyed, their trains are up and running, the very tracks that we wanted to have people look at are gone," Fisher added.

But Lang says Union Pacifc took "all the appropriate steps to preserve evidence related to the incident.”

Union Pacific plans to resume freight and clean up operations once the stop order is lifted at 11:00 p.m. Saturday. 

“As soon as we believe it’s safe to run, and our experts have deemed it safe to run and the order is lifted we intend to run the freight," Lang said.

According to a , a representative from the Federal Railroad Administration determined Friday afternoon that Union Pacific's temporary bridge is structurally sound. 

To stay up to date as this story unfolds, "like" Northbrook Patch or Glenview Patch on Facebook.

Former NBK resident July 07, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Why do people need to point fingers w/o any basis for opinion this early in the investigation? A tragedy ocurred and a complete investigation needs to be conducted by professionals who know what they are doing. Monday night armchair quarterbacks with no knowledge of physics or chemistry should back off and let the pros do what they need to do to answer any and all questions about the accident. Please people...take a breath and focus on prayers for the souls of these innocent people who left behind a mouring family who will be facing a tough road ahead. This back and forth spite is negativity we don't need. We are not here to judge what we have no business judging. No more accusations, name calling or shame toward anyone. Stop the insanity everyone.
Ed60062 July 07, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Thank you Former.
Tom Kloempken July 07, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Former NBM resident and the Science Guy: You both get four stars!!! Cod bless the Lindners and you too!
JOHN SMITH July 07, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Has anyone even thought about pointing fingers at the couple. They were old. Maybe they hit the bridge? Maybe it was there fault? It was fourth of July right? What if they were coming and or going to a party. It is a narrow underpass. They could have lost control? Maybe car failed? Maybe driver is at fault. People are so quick to point fingers at the railroad company.
Curious Resident July 07, 2012 at 10:22 PM
Wow John Smith! I am going to go with perhaps you don't drive that way very often, and the fact that you would even say that before these people are even buried is disturbing! The fact of the matter is...these people died because of the coal dumping and collapsing the bridge with a 30+ train car pile up! All of the train cars had coal in them. While I know there could have been other issues, if you go and LOOK at the scene you would have to rethink your statements. It was an accident that is for sure, one that was bound to happen with death to be the result. It has always been a concerned for residents in Northbrook and Glenview...derailment 1974, accidents who knows how many, derailment 2009, bridge "fixed" last year, this time people died and there might be more victims yet to be found. What if there is someone under all that who has family that lives out of town or something?!?! What if it was your parents? Would you want someone to say that about your parents? I think not!
JOHN SMITH July 07, 2012 at 10:25 PM
People have the right to say what they want. Thus this comment section. I'm just saying could have been there fault. You never know. I go down that way a lot. I know how narrow it is. I'm a glenview resident.
Ed60062 July 07, 2012 at 11:54 PM
I don't think John Smith was casting blame, as many here have done. He was merely opening peoples' eyes to other possibilities and cautioning people to think before they speak.
roland mazzucchi July 08, 2012 at 12:43 AM
I know its a tragedy on what happen and I feel for the families but shutting down that rail line a lot of business and people would suffer sueing up rr doesn't help the couple who was killed and it doesn't prove a point it was a accident.
JOHN SMITH July 08, 2012 at 02:26 AM
Thank Ed 60062
Firechick July 08, 2012 at 03:21 AM
Just WOW..... Um Hello? Hi this is reality calling.... A vehicle would not have made the train derail nor make the bridge come down. It's not like they were driving a semi at 60 MPH for Gods sake... Use your head.
JOHN SMITH July 08, 2012 at 03:25 AM
Hi reality but are you a expert in crashes and bridges? I was just saying could have been a factor. Ive seen a lot of weird crashes that still make me scratch my head. Also I'm using my head. Thinking of different ways the bridge could have gone down. For god sakes jeeeez
Firechick July 08, 2012 at 03:33 AM
John smith, I have been to more accident scenes in 22 years on the job than you could ever imagine to see along with all the blood, guts and brains that went along with most of them. A small vehicle such as the one they were driving would not have caused the bridge to come down. There were other factors at work here. Not to mention their vehicle was found not hitting into the side of the bridge but in their proper lane with the bridge on top of the vehicle. Think about it a minute & you will realize how asinine your question was.
JOHN SMITH July 08, 2012 at 03:38 AM
Stuff can shift during a crash. My question is not asinine. You maybe been on a lot of scenes but every scene is different . Even your 22 years doesn't mean anything, a lot of evidence had been moved so they could get train back online. So who even knows.
Firechick July 08, 2012 at 03:48 AM
Thank you Captain Obvious!! Yes every scene is different but you obviously have no knowledge re the subject. I think you are just someone who likes to stir the pot & try & piss people off with your idiotic comments. Sorry but I am bored with you now.
JOHN SMITH July 08, 2012 at 03:49 AM
Well worked with you. Lol
Elena F. July 08, 2012 at 03:56 AM
How dare you say it was their fault for maybe hitting that bridge. I was 7 years old in the 70's when that bridge was comprismised. That is i can't even finish this because I am so appalled by that comment.
JOHN SMITH July 08, 2012 at 03:57 AM
Free speech
Elena F. July 08, 2012 at 04:30 AM
What if it was your family?
Elena F. July 08, 2012 at 04:34 AM
Do u really think a car took out that bridge,what is this two mules for sister Sara was involed?
cynthia k July 08, 2012 at 12:30 PM
Wow, what is generating all this hostility? The heat? I don't think John Smith was serious that they were "old" and caused the accident. Hardly possible unless they were transporting explosives, and then perhaps they were terrorists? I think all the sarcasm is the result of a lot of bad guessing and an assumption that the railroad must be at fault, because it is, well, BIG. Railroad versus little guys. Truthfully, it is a great tragedy for the family of those killed, and a terrible stroke of bad luck that they were under the bridge at the time. There is not always a human fault factor in every tragedy, though it might make people feel better to have someone to blame. Science Guy had the best comment so far.
JOHN SMITH July 08, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Most of cause you keep going lol. You must not be so bored with me lol.
JOHN SMITH July 08, 2012 at 03:00 PM
It wasn't
JOHN SMITH July 08, 2012 at 03:01 PM
You never know? It could have. I'm just seeing other angles to the crash. Do you have 22 years like "fire chick"
David July 08, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Here's the reality; Two innocent people perished (hopefully no others). The family had to file a law suit. Any family would! The railroad had to get the train back and running ASAP for all sorts of reasons. If the evidence was altered or destroyed, whether by a rush to get the train "back on track" or to "cover up" the cause of the accident, is not going to bring the lives back to their families. The "process" of law suits and investigations will clarify the tragedy. Whether the people that were tragically killed were at all responsible (which as stated earlier is highly doubtful) or not males NO difference. A tragedy occurred!!! What has to happen now is to learn lessons and do the best to prevent further accidents like this, so that the death of two innocent people is not in vain.
Erron Fisher July 09, 2012 at 12:03 PM
Reilly, did it occur to you that trains have derailed in this spot 2 times in the past 4 years and 3 times in the past 40 years at this spot? I do not think the Northbrook Community or any other find repeated tragedy acceptable. We mourned our friends yesterday at their funeral and let me tell you how difficult that was. Regardless of being lawyers, we shed the same tears for Burt and Zoe that everyone else did. I hope you have no idea what it is like, ever, to suddenly and tragically lose someone who was a mentor and teacher and instrumental in helping you start your own business so you can provide for your family. We had a job to do, and that job was to get answers for the family, whom are our friends. That job was to make sure we get as much evidence as we could so the truth can come out. Finally, that job was to make sure that we allow the experts here to determine the truth so it does not happen again. If you believe that the railroad as a large corporation cares for one moment about anything other then dollars and cents, you may be as ignorant as your posting. I am writing this post as a person and friend of those that we lost. My job, and a very difficult one, is done. Now I will mourn my friends.
Mosaic53 July 09, 2012 at 03:04 PM
The EVIDENCE was in the process of being removed & THAT'S why they had to act so quickly! They had to bring in their own people to investigate. The victim was HIMSELF a Personal Injury Attorney & his family undoubtably knew he would've done the same for his own clients. We do not live in a proactive society. We wait until something bad happens to take corrective measures. We don't fix something before it breaks or even when we know it "might" happen again. We wait. we wait for people to die at dangerous intersections before lights or stop signs are installed. We see it on the news all the time.
Mosaic53 July 09, 2012 at 03:11 PM
Per Science Guy's previous cogent comments, would one consider this a "Perfect Storm" of unfortunate variables? And if so, should cargo such as this NOT be transported on a bridge in an urban area where there are a lot of drivers? Is that even a practical alternative when transported across the country? Not an expert of any kind, but what would be a solution to not occurring again? You seem to have made the most sense of any Comnents I've read.
Madison Paterson July 09, 2012 at 03:28 PM
In that case prehaps it should be LOCAL government authorities doing a DEATH investigation and not a PRIVATE company doing a CYA investigation.
Madison Paterson July 09, 2012 at 08:44 PM
A lot of your questions were raised when they increased the freight traffic around the suburbs. The federal government allowed the increase despite the objections of the local communities. A lot of the objections were of the NIMBY varity- however a lot of valid questions concerning safety were raised. The railroads and the federal government made assurances that all would be fine nothing to worry about. Well there have been derailments, collisions etc. that have called into question the safety of the equipment, the tracks and bridges etc. Hopefully this will all be looked into. Also all local taxpayers should ask- who pays for the emerency responders- the full cost not just a token fee- and for the road crews to evaluate the NON-RAILROAD property that was damaged? It better be Union Pacific.
Rudolph S Caparros Jr December 13, 2012 at 12:12 AM
HazMat Experts and Firefighters petition Dow Chemical and Union Pacific for safe rail tank cars transporting gas chlorine. Secondary containment is a necessary improvement that must be implemented. See--PETITION C KIT for First Responders Comments.

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