Family of Man Killed in Nebraska Bridge Collapse Sues Railroads

May 23, 2011

The wife of a railroad worker who died last June when floodwaters brought down a bridge over the Elkhorn River in Norfolk has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the railroads responsible for the structure.

Suzanne Scholl, of Norfolk, said in her lawsuit that Union Pacific Railroad, Nebraska Central Railroad and Rio Grande Pacific Corporation failed to ensure the railroad bridge was properly designed and maintained and that it was safe.

Her husband, Jeff Scholl, was among three Nebraska Central Railroad workers checking on the bridge when it collapsed over the swollen river, dumping them into the fast-moving current. Two of the workers were pulled out of the river alive. Scholl’s body was found several days later.

Omaha, Neb.-based Union Pacific owns the bridge and leases it to Nebraska Central and its parent company, Fort Worth, Texas-based Rio Grande, according to the lawsuit. Jeff Scholl worked for Nebraska Central.

Union Pacific spokesman Mark Davis said that the railroad doesn’t comment on pending court cases. A message left for Rio Grande wasn’t immediately returned.

The lawsuit was filed earlier this month in Douglas County District Court and reported first by the Omaha World-Herald. The lawsuit doesn’t specify what compensation Scholl is seeking.

Jeff Scholl was 38 when he was killed on June 15. At the time, he and his wife had two young sons. She gave birth to his daughter after his death.

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