Oak Park grandmother sues CTA for 'ghost train' crash

Injured with granddaughter in first car, lawyer says

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An Oak Park grandmother and her 4-year-old granddaughter are the second plaintiffs to sue the Chicago Transit Authority for injuries allegedly sustained in the Blue Line "ghost train" crash on Sept. 30 at the Harlem Avenue station.

Bethena Davis has filed suit in the Circuit Court of Cook County Law Division, 4th Municipal District.

Davis, 65, and her granddaughter were sitting in the first car of the stationary westbound train stopped at the Harlem station at 7:40 a.m., said her lawyer, Peter Delongis of Oakbrook Terrace.

The first car was nearly empty, according to Delongis.

"Bethena was taking the granddaughter to daycare and was going to go on to work," he said. "They were sitting right up next to the motorman and observed the oncoming train just before impact and saw what was going to happen."

Delongis said the motorman also saw what was happening and told passengers to "get out" as the driverless train traveled at 20 miles per hour on a collision course with the standing train.

After the accident, Davis and her granddaughter were transported to Gottlieb Hospital in Melrose Park, Delongis said.

Delongis said Davis suffered bruises and sprains to her hips, thigh and lower back. "She's in an aggressive course of therapy for the next several weeks, managed by a physician," Delongis said.

The granddaughter suffered injuries to one arm, for which she is still receiving medical treatment, Delongis added.

The suit has similar elements to a lawsuit filed against the CTA by Kim Quach on Oct. 2.

Quach's suit accused the CTA of "carelessly and negligently" operating the trains, failing to look out for an approaching train, operating a train at an excessive rate of speed, failing to apply brakes, ignoring train signals and failing to yield the right of way.

"We had studied [Quach's] complaint, of course, to find out what other plaintiffs were alleging," Delongis said. "The two cases have overlapping allegations."

The suit, which asks for $100,000 in damages, says Davis and her granddaughter suffered permanent physical injuries, great pain and mental anguish and were forced to pay sums of money for medical treatment.

"Seeing that approaching train coming, [Davis] has got some issues in terms of dealing with that from the standpoint of sleeping and such," Delongis said.

Davis told CBS News her granddaughter does not want to go near a train again.

"The injuries are still very fresh. We'll know more within the next month how their health is," Delongis said.

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William Shakespeare from London, England  

Posted: November 1st, 2013 5:40 PM

"...first, we kill all the lawyers!"

Just Curious from Oak Park  

Posted: November 1st, 2013 5:34 PM

For those of you favoring expanding the blue line versus adding a lane to the Ike, I presume you have a plan to prevent these CTA mishaps from happening in the future?

Taxpayer from Oak Park  

Posted: November 1st, 2013 5:32 PM

If this were a private railroad, everyone would be calling for blood. Now that we are the owners (ie. the taxpayer), we see it from the owner's perspective. Real injuries should always be compensated, but I fear this will become a lawyers' feeding frenzy.

Ernest Walters from Oak Park  

Posted: November 1st, 2013 5:21 PM

We the taxpayers will foot the bill and the lawyer will get 1/2 (at least). Undoubtedly, innocent passengers were traumatized and need to heal but $100,000? Opportunism springs from regrettable incidents.

Chris Carrier  

Posted: November 1st, 2013 5:13 PM

Ah, strains and bruises. Those will never go away. Might want to seek disability, too.

Chuck Izzo from River Forest  

Posted: November 1st, 2013 4:18 PM

Bethena and her granddaughter just hit the Lotto!!

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