CHICAGO — Of the dozens of people injured in the CTA Yellow Line crash Thursday, one is now a client of Clifford Law Offices, who have filed a lawsuit against the CTA on his behalf.
“It’s not something anyone would ever want to go through,” Henry Simmons told WGN’s Jenna Barnes in a sit-down interview Thursday evening.
The lawyers — Simmons and Joseph T. Murphy — said 52-year-old Cleon Hawkins was seated in the second car of the Yellow Line train when the collision sent him flying into one of the metal poles in the car, injuring his shoulder and leg.
“Metal and the human body when there’s force,” Simmons said. “Metal usually wins.”
Murphy and Simmons filed the lawsuit just hours after the crash and said that time is of the essence to figure out what went wrong.
“This isn’t just some random piece of equipment that was on the tracks, it was another CTA vehicle,” Murphy said. “One hand should be talking to the other, and that’s not what happened.”
According to the Chicago Fire Department, Seven CTA employees and four children were among the 38 injured. Three people were seriously hurt, though CFD said their injuries did not appear to be life-threatening. 15 people refused treatment at the scene.
“Several things had to occur wrong for us to put people in harm’s way like this,” said DePaul University transportation professor Joe Schwieterman.
Schwieterman said maintenance equipment like snow plows are usually moved at night. He described what happened as the worst-case-scenario in a stretch known for poor visibility.
“A two car train, it’s not like a long Metra train, they can stop relatively quick,” Schwieterman said. “Something happened here – the train unable to stop or missing the cue of the need to stop.”
The result – dozens of people triaged at the scene, many hospitalized because of their injuries on the CTA.
In a response to WGN News seeking comment on the newly-filed lawsuit, the CTA passed along the following statement:
“CTA has not yet seen the filing. Further, we are unable to comment on pending litigation.”
CTA Media Relations
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