HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — A trash truck driver caused the explosive derailment of a CSX freight train near Baltimore last month by failing to stop at a railroad crossing, the company contends in a federal lawsuit.
The complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore alleges negligence by John J. Alban Jr. and his company, Alban Waste LLC. The Associated Press was unable to reach either of them by telephone Thursday.
Suitland lawyer John F.X. Costello, named in a court document as the defense attorney, said he hasn't been hired to represent either defendant. He declined to comment on the case.
CSX Transportation Inc. of Jacksonville, Fla., filed the complaint Tuesday. It seeks at least $225,000 in damages. The National Transportation Safety Board has said the May 28 derailment caused an estimated $625,000 worth of damage to the train and tracks.
The train derailed after striking the truck driven by Alban, leading to an explosion and fire that a preliminary investigative report from the NTSB last week said damaged buildings as far as a mile away.
The NTSB said in its report last week that Alban did not stop before crossing the tracks. The agency said the crossing was marked with X-shaped crossbucks and yellow stop signs that were faded and displaced. One of the stop signs was hanging upside down and facing away from the road, the NTSB said.
CSX contends that Alban and his company were familiar with the crossing because the business is located near the tracks.
"Alban was under a statutory and common law duty to slow and stop the truck and exercise due care, including by looking and listening, to ensure the tracks were clear of approaching trains and that the crossing could be traversed safely," the lawsuit says.