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Passenger on O’Hare Bound Train Wreck Awarded More Than $6 million

Tragic Train Wreck Leads to New Safety Rules

Yolanda Montes, 37, was a TSA Officer headed to work at O’Hare International Airport on the morning of March 24, 2014 when the tragic train wreck occurred.  She was in the sixth car from the front, standing and holding on to a metal pole.  Little did she know, the rookie operator was dozing off. As a direct result, the train crashed through a barrier at the end of the tracks and landed on top of an escalator.

The force of the train wreck caused her head to strike the pole and a door. Montes was initially diagnosed with a concussion, back sprain and neck sprain. It was later discovered that the crash had aggravated pre-existing conditions in her back and neck, which required surgeries. Because of her injuries, Montes is no longer able to do the type of standing, lifting and twisting required by her past work as a transportation security officer, and now works as an administrative assistant for the TSA.

The $6.654 million verdict awarded Friday, May 5, 2017, was the largest of all the legal cases brought over the March 24, 2014 train wreck. The train operator was fired by the CTA less than two weeks later. The National Transportation Safety Board blamed the crash on the operator, and on the failure of the CTA to properly oversee her work schedule.

Because of this tragic accident, the board made various recommendations to improve safety at the agency.

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