PHILADELPHIA — The crash that claimed the lives of two Amtrak workers in April was the result of multiple failures and points toward the need for better safety measures all around, according to a lawyer representing the family of one of those killed.
Joe Carter and Peter Adamovich were performing maintenance on a track near Chester on April 3 when they were struck by Amtrak Train 89, which was traveling south at more than 100 mph. The crash came less than a year after the derailment of Amtrak Train 188 outside of Philadelphia, and, like that incident, was preventable,, according to Thomas Kline, a partner with Kline and Specter.
Kline has filed suit against Amtrak on behalf of the Carter family with Robert Mongeluzzi of Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett & Bendesky.
“Our initial investigation shows that there appear to have been multiple failures,” Kline told the Pennsylvania Record. “We believe there was a miscommunication between the tower and those responsible for ensuring the track was kept out of operation and protected.
"Amtrak had the ability, we believe, to use various safety measures which were not employed, and therefore left Mr. Carter, a longtime employee and a backhoe operator, at risk. He ultimately lost his life as a result of the failures that occurred here.”
Montia Carter, Joe Carter’s daughter, is suing Amtrak for negligence, claiming that the company failed to provide a safe workplace, didn’t ensure that track workers were adequately protected and failing to use systems that could have slowed or stopped the train before it hit Carter and Adamovich.
“There needs to be a redundancy to ensure that workers and passengers at all times are protected,” Kline said. “We've now seen within the scope of time of approximately one year, 10 people lose their lives.
"It's become glaringly obvious that there are not sufficient, systemic prophylaxis in place to secure safety for workers and passengers alike. Here there were multiple ways to have potentially prevented this accident, and subject to a more extensive investigation, we believe there was a communications breakdown as well as a failing to keep the track protected, which is the first obligation of those in the tower and of those who are responsible for protecting workers on the track doing routine maintenance and construction.”
The Train 89 accident, along with the May 2015 derailment of Train 188, shows that Amtrak is not doing enough to keep employees and passengers safe, he said.
“We clearly have a pattern, with two accidents occurring relatively close together, which demonstrates significant gaps in safety practices and procedures and has shaken public confidence in the safety of our rails,” Kline said.
“We believe that the deaths and injuries [from these accidents] need to prompt corrective measures by Amtrak to ensure safety and to meet more rigorous safety standards, and also to employ the kind of technology and kind of resources to prevent these kind of preventable tragedies from occurring.”