Freight brakeman in deadly LA train collision sues

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The brakeman on the freight train involved in a deadly collision with a commuter train filed a lawsuit Friday against the commuter railroad and the companies that provide its engineers.

The lawsuit, filed by Dominick Fravola and his wife, blames the defendants for not properly screening, supervising and training the Metrolink engineer who ran his commuter train past a red signal on Sept. 12 and collided with a Union Pacific freight train. Twenty-five people died in the crash, the nation's deadliest train accident since 1993.

"Basically the guy was asleep at the switch and not paying attention to what was going on around him," Fravola's attorney, Barry Novack, said of the Metrolink engineer, who was killed in the crash.

The lawsuit also names Veolia Transportation and its subsidiary, Connex Railroad, which employs the Metrolink engineers. It seeks an unspecified amount in damages, medical and psychological expenses and loss of income. Fravola's wife also seeks damages for loss of consortium.

The lawsuit alleges the defendants knew the tracks presented risks but "allowed a dangerous, defective and unsafe condition to exist." Novack said the red and yellow signals near the station were not positioned to allow engineers to see them, which led to the crash.

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