Dennis Siebersma Killed In Wilmington Township Train Accident By Murphy Road and Copper Road
Wrongful Death - April 7, 2022
Dennis Siebersma, of Coal City, Died In Wilmington Township Train Accident While Driving Pickup Truck Through Railroad Crossing at Murphy Road and Copper Road
WILMINGTON TOWNSHIP, ILLINOIS (April 7, 2022) – A 64-year-old man identified as Dennis Siebersma has tragically died in a train accident near Murphy Road and Copper Road.
Will County police officials are saying that the accident took place around 2:00 p.m. on Monday. Dennis Siebersma was heading through the railroad crossing when his pickup truck may have become stuck in a gravel area on the north side of the railroad crossing.
The BNSF freight train collided with the side of the victim’s vehicle and pushed it nearly 150 feet from the crossing. Firefighters and paramedics were called to the scene of the train accident.
Sadly, Dennis Siebersma was beyond medical aid and pronounced dead at the scene. A full investigation into the Will County train accident remains ongoing at this time.
Liability In Wilmington Train Accidents
Deaths at railroad crossings are far more frequent than many people realize. According to the National Safety Council, there were 757 train accident fatalities in the year 2020 alone. There were also 5,479 non-fatal injuries during that same period. One of the things that makes trains so dangerous is their speed. They can be deceptively fast and many victims don’t even realize they are in danger until it’s too late. There are a number of potential factors that could contribute to a train accident including:
- Speeding trains
- Conductor error
- Defective tracks
- Mechanical failures
- Unprotected railroad crossings
Depending on the specific facts of any case, there could be numerous liable parties for a train accident. Train conductors have a legal obligation to exercise due care in order to avoid causing accidents. Trains have speed limits just like cars. Exceeding these limits can lead to catastrophic accidents. For example, three people were killed in an Amtrak train accident when the train derailed as it speed 50 mph over the speed limit around a curve. Speeding trains are also much more difficult to stop in the event of an emergency – e.g., a car becoming stuck on the train tracks.
Train conductors must also scan the tracks ahead of them for potential hazards. If they see a hazard on the tracks, they must apply their brakes and sound their horn to alert others of their presence. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) also requires train operators to sound their horn 15-20 seconds before entering all public grade crossings. Train operators may also need to reduce their speed depending on the prevailing weather/ visibility conditions on any particular day. Pedestrians and vehicles on the tracks are more difficult to see during heavy fog and at night.
The company or city responsible for a railroad crossing could also potentially be liable for a collision. Pursuant to Illinois Civil Code (740 ILCS 130/), all property owners must exercise reasonable care in the maintenance of their property. They can be liable for defects on their property that result in injury or death. There are many ways that a railroad crossing could be in a dangerous condition. The crossing may have had defective closing gates or alarm bells. Or the crossing may have had some type of defect causing a car to become stuck. This could happen if the crossing is not properly inspected, maintained or repaired. There are many steps that should be taken after any train accident.
- Surveillance footage should be sought.
- Eye witnesses should be interviewed.
- If a vehicle became stuck prior to a crash, there should be an investigation into how this happened.
- It should be determined if the conductor followed all regulations prior to the collision.
- Maintenance records for the railroad crossing should be inspected.
The family of any victim that died in a train accident may have legal recourse through a wrongful death claim. Damages can help cover lost wages, medical bills and funeral expenses. Sadly, though, train companies will often fight hard to deny any responsibility for a collision on their tracks. An Illinois train accident attorney can examine all of the unique facts of your case and let you know what your legal options are.
Investigating A Wilmington Train Accident
We at Horwitz Horwitz & Associates extend our deepest condolences to the family of Dennis Siebersma. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to authorities. There needs to be a thorough investigation into what happened for the sake of the victim’s family. It is our sincere hope that this railroad crossing is investigated properly and that steps are taken to prevent other tragedies.
Do you need more information about a Wilmington train accident? Our team of consumer safety advocates are here to answer any legal questions that you may have. We care deeply that accident victims are aware of their rights and that those rights are being protected. Whether you just have legal questions or need a free, independent investigation into any accident we are here for you. You’re always welcome to reach out to us anytime at (312) 564-4256.