A 65-year-old Solomon woman filed a $1 million suit in Dickinson County District Court last month against Union Pacific Railroad.
Wendy Ewing is claiming damages from a May 2019 crash between her vehicle and a Union Pacific Railroad freight train in Solomon.
Also named in the suit are engineer Derek Brown and conductor Richard Hewitt.
According to the petition filed on her behalf in district court, at 6:17 p.m., on May 29, 2019, Ewing was driving her 2011 Honda Accord southbound on Poplar Street in the city of Solomon.
As Ewing’s vehicle was traveling southbound, it approached a railroad-highway crossing which was equipped with railroad crossing lights, cantilever lights and automatic gates.
The suit alleges Union Pacific had turned off the Poplar Street Crossing signal system. Union Pacific did not notify any local, state or federal authorities that it turned off the signal system nor did it slow trains or provide alternative protection for motoring Kansans.
Consequently, unknown to Ewing due to the failure of the Poplar Street Crossing signal system, at about the same time a Union Pacific freight train was traveling in a generally eastbound direction at approximately 40 miles per hour.
“The Union Pacific train maintained a constant speed as it approached the inactivated crossing and train violently struck the Ewing vehicle on the passenger side and threw it almost 100 feet northeast of the crossing,” according to court documents.”
The defendants filed an answer last Thursday denying the allegations.
“In this case, defendants breached their duty by failing to exercise reasonable care,” the suit reads. “The public has come to rely upon the following three basic components as essential to railroad crossing safety: a) reasonable and timely audible warning of an approaching train, b) reasonable and timely visual warning of an approaching train, and c) a safe place to cross the tracks.
“Defendants have actively worked to instill these fundamental beliefs into the motoring public. In this case, none of these three basic components were provided to the driver prior to the Collision.”
According to a published report in the Reflector-Chronicle, Ewing was transported to the Salina Regional Health Center and treated for injuries.
According to the suit, Ewing suffered severe, permanent and long-lasting injuries, both economic and non-economic.
The defendants responded to the complaint by denying the allocations of negligence citing “sufficient information.”
The defendants claim the crash was caused by the “negligence of the plaintiff” alleging the driver was operating her vehicle at a speed and in a manner that was not appropriate for the conditions.
The defendants asked for the petition to be dismissed.
A court date before Judge Ryan Rosauer has not be set.
Contact Tim Horan at email@example.com.