Rail Company Sued Over Crash That Killed 4 Ohio Teens

June 5, 2014

Parents of three of the four teens killed in a car crash near a northeast Ohio railroad crossing are suing rail company CSX Transportation Inc. and local officials from neighboring townships and counties.

The wrongful death lawsuit filed Monday in Lorain County alleges officials didn’t properly maintain the crossing and the road, among other accusations.

Investigators concluded the teens’ vehicle sped over the crossing at an estimated 69 mph, went airborne and then crashed in Columbia Township in June 2012. The crash killed the 18-year-old driver, Jeffrey Chaya, and three of his passengers: 17-year-old Blake Bartchak, 16-year-old Lexi Poerner and 18-year-old Kevin Fox. A 17-year-old girl survived.

Chaya and Fox were supposed to graduate from high school on the day of the accident.

Families of the three passengers who died filed the lawsuit against CSX, county commissioners and engineers in Lorain and Medina counties and the two townships that sit on either side of the track.

CSX declined to comment Tuesday, as did trustees from Columbia Township in Lorain County and Liverpool Township in Medina County. Officials for Lorain and Medina counties couldn’t immediately be reached.

After the crash involving the Brunswick High School students, officials reduced the slope leading up to the crossing, lowered the speed limit there and posted new warning signs.

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