(Raleigh, North Carolina – July 14, 2011)
Nanette Daniels, the widow of Cary, NC grocery store owner/operator Jack M. Daniels, has filed a $450,000 suit against two railroads. Jack was killed on June 9, 2009, when an Amtrak passenger train hit his Toyota Solara at the CSX Railroad crossing of Royal Street in Raleigh, NC. Investigators called Mr. Daniels’ death a suicide, claiming that the motorist ignored the flashing signal and “appeared to stop his car in the middle of the crossing”. But the lawsuit alleges that the crossing gates malfunctioned, dropping in place, but then rising to allow Daniels’ car to proceed, but dropping again, trapping his vehicle on the tracks.
“There is an established history of issues with said safety gates pursuant to witness testimony,” states the suit, citing the testimony of people who work in the area and drive over the crossing frequently who said the gates malfunctioned periodically.
Also according to the suit, CSX workers replaced the gate arms the day after Daniels’ death, telling his widow that the crossing was “scheduled for maintenance.” Since the tragedy, friends and relatives of the Daniels’ sport bumper stickers on their vehicles reading “Take care at railroad crossings, because the train won’t”.