OXNARD (AP) — Two women who were among dozens of passengers hurt when a commuter train struck a pickup truck abandoned on Southern California railroad tracks are suing the truck’s driver and his employer.
The lawsuits were filed Wednesday in Ventura County Superior Court on behalf of Catherine Solner, of Oxnard, and Cheryl Hamilton, of Port Hueneme, the Ventura County Star reported.
The two women were among 30 passengers injured when a Metrolink commuter train struck a pickup truck stuck on the tracks in Oxnard Feb. 24.
The train’s engineer, Glenn Steele, 62, of Homeland, died a week later.
Hamilton had a fractured spine, a concussion and knee injuries, while Solner had head injuries, a broken clavicle and several broken ribs, said their attorney, Mark Hiepler.
Both women remain off work, he said.
“We are protecting the interests of our clients as they deal with the immediate economic and non-economic repercussions of suffering serious injuries in the traumatic event,” he said in a news release.
The truck driver, Jose Alejandro Sanchez-Ramirez, 54, of Yuma, Arizona, was arrested on suspicion of felony hit-and-run but later released. Authorities have not decided whether to file criminal charges pending further investigation.
His lawyer, Ron Bamieh, has said the trucker accidentally turned onto the tracks and made repeated attempts to get the truck off the rails, then ran for his life as the train approached.
Bamieh said Wednesday that his client has no money to cover any damages if the two women win.
“I understand why they’re filing the lawsuit and I am sure that they have good cause and grounds” but the odds of obtaining any money from Sanchez-Ramirez are slim to none, he said.
The lawsuits also name the company Sanchez-Ramirez was working for at the time, Arizona-based Harvest Management LLC.
A message seeking comment was left for the company Wednesday evening and wasn’t immediately returned.
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