A Texas couple seriously injured in Tuesday’s train-bus collision in Biloxi is suing CSX and Echo Transportation for gross negligence and is asking a judge to order evidence preserved.
Darwyn and Marie Hanna will seek more than $1 million in damages, according to the lawsuit filed in District Court in Dallas County, Texas, where charter-bus company Echo is headquartered. The Hannas were two of 50 aboard the bus, most of them from the Bastrop (Texas) Senior Center near Austin.
They were headed to Boomtown Casino Biloxi on the third day of a casino charter.
The lawsuit says the couple will be forever terrorized by the image of a train barreling toward them while they feared imminent death.
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Four people died and 44 were injured in the accident at the Main Street railroad crossing, where a total of 16 accidents have been reported since 1976, including one previous fatality.
“With 16 incidents and the railroad not changing that particular crossing … they’re going to face all kinds of liability,” said attorney Mitchell Toups, who filed the lawsuit for Darwyn and Marie Hanna. Toups said one of the Hannas faces hospitalization for up to eight weeks.
The lawsuit refers to a similar accident in January. Like the bus, a Pepsi truck appeared stuck on the tracks when a CSX train smashed into it. No one was injured. A second lawsuit filed over Tuesday’s accident also mentions the truck-train accident.
The Main Street crossing has a steep grade on the north side, with signs on both sides that warn of a low ground clearance, accompanied by an illustration of a truck stuck on the tracks.
Toups said he expected a judge to sign a restraining order Thursday afternoon that would preserve evidence, including the train and bus, train engine, black boxes on the engine, videotapes and other recordings from the bus, and written records.