National News

Lawrenceville teen sues CSX after losing legs in train accident

Posted July 26

— The Lawrenceville teenager who lost his legs in March, after he was hit by a train in Lilburn, has filed a lawsuit last week against the railroad company and two of the train's conductors.

Jacob Ohl, 17, is suing CSX Transportation, Inc. along with operators Derick Tyron Marshall and Clifton Edward Martin in DeKalb County State Court. The suit claims Martin and Marshall were negligent and that CSX is liable for his injuries, which have already cost the Ohl family more than $200,000.

"The decision to sue CSX was not made lightly," Ohl's mother wrote on a GoFundMe page. "We have spent over $10k of our own money relocating and modifying a home for Jacob to live in."

Ohl's life changed on March 2, when he decided to walk along the train tracks near a park in Lilburn. His earbuds were in at the time. According to his GoFundMe page, Ohl sensed, but never heard the train coming up behind him.

He was hit and his legs severed below the knee.

Ohl's mother wrote that he's "taken personal responsibility since day one for his actions and their consequences," but she said she felt CSX and its operators could have taken actions to prevent her son's tragedy.

The lawsuit reflects that thinking. It calls out CSX for not having barriers or clear signs in an area where "it was common for there to be pedestrians along its right-of-way."

The lawsuit also claims the forward-looking camera on the train that hit Ohl wasn't working properly.

"The defendant railroad was under a legal obligation to have a functioning forward-looking camera on its locomotive to record what occurred and to warn its engineer and conductor of obstacles, including any people, on or near its tracks," according to the lawsuit.

Ohl's suit also claims that Marshall and Martin would have been able to see the teenage boy on the tracks when the train was about 1,000 feet, or a little over 10 seconds, away from him. According to CSX safety rules, the operators should have "repeatedly and with sufficient intensity and duration" blown the horn to worn Ohl.

But Marshall and Martin waited until about two seconds before hitting Ohl to blow the horn - "too late for Jacob Ohl to react and jump to safety," according to the suit.

Ohl is suing for his injuries as well as damages he might suffer in the future because of his resulting handicap. CSX declined to comment on the lawsuit.

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