Mom gets run down by train when baby stroller gets stuck

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Louise, Oct 10, 2011.

  1. Louise

    Louise Banned Member

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    I used to watch '1000 Ways to Die' and figured these stories were all just made up. But here's another one.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-1010-train-death-20111010,0,7434184.story

    What in the world? Why she didn't just grab her baby from the stroller and run is perplexing. It's like a bad 80s horror movie, where you are screaming at the screen for their stupidity. "Grab the baby! Run! Don't just stand there over and over trying to free the stroller!"

    At least the baby survived and will never have to worry about her mother putting her life in danger again.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011
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  2. Beefcake

    Beefcake Guest

    (((( Deceased, her child, and her family )))) She obviously panicked in not just leaving the entangled stroller behind.

    But, yeh, she shouldn't have started crossing against the warning lights and arm to begin with ... and then, should've turned back after the initial stroller/tracks problem.
     
  3. nylynnr

    nylynnr Active Member

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    Here's betting a lawsuit against the city, Metrolink, etc. is in the offing.
     
  4. Beefcake

    Beefcake Guest

    Oy vey, probably. For not having a solid wall that comes down at the cross for people who choose to ignore the warning bells and whistles, or for not having a person there to pull her back, or for not having brakes on their trains that can stop an X-tons locomotive on a dime.
     
  5. duane

    duane New Member

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    Blunt comments, but right on the mark. It's tragic that the mother died, but it's because of her own reckless behavior.
     
  6. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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    I think they can only sue if there was an actual mechanical problem, which there doesn't seem to be. The safety arms came down as they should, the conductor saw her, blew the horn, and tried to stop. It takes more than a mile for a full-loaded freight train to stop. Not sure about a passenger train, but it sure ain't a car!

    If it's stupid to even drive your car around the safety arms when they're down, it's moronically stupid to walk a baby stroller around them. :wall: It's unfortunate that this woman paid with her life and that her child will grow up without a mother because of her stupidity, but it is what it is.
     
  7. Louise

    Louise Banned Member

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    I suppose the family can file a lawsuit, anyone can sue for anything. But there are many eyewitnesses that saw her completely disregard the gate and alarm lights. I just don't see what more the railway company could have reasonably done. Most people, especially ones walking with a baby stroller, would heed the warnings.

    It's just hard to imagine something like this happening. Do people not think they won't be harmed when breaking rules? The one time I ever crossed over a RR with the lights and whistles and gates on, I had been sitting there for over 5 minutes and there was still no sign of a train. I figured the crossing apparati were messed up. So I made the decision to drive around the arms. BUT, before I did, I made sure the door was unlocked, the window was open, I was not locked in with my seatbelt, I didn't accidentally tie my shoelaces to the brake, etc. It took all of ten seconds to plan for disaster, in case that one and only time my car decides to break down happens when I'm straddled on a RR track with a train coming. This woman just showed no foresight. And the fact that the stroller got stuck THREE times just shows how less than intelligent she was. After it got stuck the first time, I'd be thinking maybe it's better to turn back, or just PICK UP the stroller, or get the baby unfastened if needed. Unless she secured that baby with duct tape into the stroller, she should have easily gotten the baby out and made a run for it.

    A sad sad story.
     
  8. nylynnr

    nylynnr Active Member

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    Nope, as long as there is a lawyer who takes the case, people can sue. And I am betting the manufacturer of the stroller, as well as the City and train, will be named. I further bet that rather than go to court and run up costs, the insurance companies will settle for a few hundred thousand or so.
     
  9. Beefcake

    Beefcake Guest

    Er, I was listing outlandishly ridiculous possible lawsuits. I don't really think that there should be a solid wall that comes down at that intersection. Of course, a lawyer may argue that anyway. :shuffle:

    ITA that, if the scenario is as reported, this woman indeed did pay for her stubbornness/foolishness/aloofness with her life ... no negligence on anyone else's part.
     
  10. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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    Of course people can sue if they can get a lawyer, but it would take a judge to actually look at it and not just throw it out for uselessness. :p They do do that at times...
     
  11. WindSpirit

    WindSpirit OmnipresentAdmeanistrator

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    I agree with all who said that what she did was really stupid. The saddest thing about it is that it was 100% preventable. I think I did that a few times (went under the gate) when I was a teenager, but I would never do it now. Especially if I had a child with me.

    I feel bad for everyone involved: the woman (it was pure stupidity but she didn't deserve to die for it); her baby; their family, but also the conductor and people on the train.
     
  12. nylynnr

    nylynnr Active Member

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    Judges very rarely throw these cases out, and if so, only after discovery, depositions, motions, etc., all of which are expensive. It is far more likely insurers will elect to settle in a case of this type, prior to running up legal bills.
     
  13. genevieve

    genevieve drinky typo pbp, closet hugger Staff Member

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    this was on the local news last night, but they didn't mention that the safety bars had already started coming down. They just went on and on about a "mother's ultimate sacrifice". :rolleyes: I think that would apply if this were a case of getting a baby out of a burning building, or from a car wreck, but this was a tragic and entirely preventable incident.

    And I feel very sorry for the conductor of the train, who must be completely traumatised.
     
  14. numbers123

    numbers123 Well-Known Member

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    It was stupid, but people do stupid things everyday. We don't know if the mom had thought that she would have missed work, missed a doctor's appointment, etc. Or thought that she had never had any problems when crossing tracks before so why now? Or had done this a several times before and never had an issue. As to getting the baby out of the stroller and getting out of the way - sometimes those stroller straps are unmanageable and difficult to open without the fear of a train coming at you.

    I feel for the train conductor - even if someone causes their own death from their own stupidity, he has be undergoing tremendous PSTD

    I hope that no one takes a potential lawsuit seriously.
     
  15. Jenna

    Jenna Well-Known Member

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    This is very sad for all parties involved. :(
     
  16. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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    Depends on who was at fault. People like to cite the case of the hot McDonald's coffee, but it was really McDonald's fault for giving the woman third degree burns because they kept the water that hot. There was no good reason for the water to be so dangerously hot. Even if you were clumsy enough to spill it on yourself.

    So unless the city agrees to the Metrolink tracks away from all residential areas (and who's gonna pay for that?), I don't really think they have a case.
     
  17. Cupid

    Cupid Well-Known Member

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    Couldn't they have intervened or at least ran up to the gate and told her to take the baby out of the darn stroller? Where were the Good Samaritans that day? She obviously did panic, hard to imagine someone being that stupid.
     
  18. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

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    I think it's a bit of a myth that you can just sue willy nilly and expect some time of settlement from insurance companies just because they want to avoid litigation.

    From what I've seen of actual cases, insurance companies don't disburse settlements in the hundreds of thousans unless there's an *extremely* good reason. What I see more is insurance companies play hardball, do things like countersue the plaintiff, and basically make it financially difficult if not impossible for them to continue unless the plaintiffs are very wealthy. I don't actually know of many lawyers who would take on such a suit because even on a contingency basis, the plaintiff is still on the hook for costs, and those can be substantial. Unless the lawyer thinks they have a slamdunk case, they don't usually waste their time.

    I know a *lot* of cases where people sued because of perceived negligence. In virtually all those cases, they won nothing. In some cases, they had to spend money they didn't have to close things up without any type of settlement.

    Maybe it's watching too many Hollywood law and order tv shows that gives people the opposite impression, but the reality of legal settlements is a far cry from that.


    WRT this particular case, my guess is the baby was buckled in the stroller, and that can be difficult to undo quickly. Pulling/pushing the stroller may have seemed the quickest way of dealing with being stuck once that happened. Obviously one shouldn't haul a stroller in front of a moving train though.
     
  19. nylynnr

    nylynnr Active Member

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    Yes and no. I work in the field and there are cases of railroad accidents reminiscent of this woman's, that have resulted in settlements. (One involved an attempted suicide on the NYC subway tracks.) Depending on the venue, insurers generally do not wish to go to court in these type of "heart-rending" situations, i.e., young mothers dying. After considering the artfulness of the pleading and the skill of the attorney, a lot of insurers would hire their own law firms, who might settle to avoid a long discovery process -- although I agree insurers should stand firm.
     
  20. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    Terribly, I'm sure. I know with Amtrak with a car-train or pedestrian-train collision and fatality, the cab crew is given the option of switching out and getting a replacement to finish the trip if they feel too upset to continue. It must be horrible to see it coming and know that there is NOTHING you can do to stop it. Trains can't stop on a dime.

    The commuter rail line that crossed Moody Street near where I lived in MA had little pedestrian gates that came down over the sidewalks, just in case people didn't get the hint. Around here the Amtrak crossing have signs warning of high-speed trains--ie, the express from Kalamazoo to Chicago is going VERY FAST and as such trips the gates a long way off, so just because you cannot see it from your car does not mean it's not coming.

    Cupid--maybe the bystanders yelled at her, but they'd have to be suicidal idiots to run out on the tracks after her.
     
  21. Hannahclear

    Hannahclear Well-Known Member

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  22. genevieve

    genevieve drinky typo pbp, closet hugger Staff Member

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    I thought that was pretty horrid, actually. The mom made the best of the situation by getting the baby clear of the train, but in no way is she a hero, nor did she make "the ultimate sacrifice". And the line that she must have crossed under the safety bars purely out of a mother's need to get her baby home as quickly as possible...well, that's just romancing the hell out of it.
     
  23. Louis

    Louis Tinami 2012

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    If I witnessed this happening and the mother survived, I'd have called 911 and then Child Protective Services (useless as I've found them to be).

    This was no less dangerous than dangling a child from her ankles out a window or driving drunk at 90 mph with a child unrestrained in the car.

    I have a lot of sympathy for the child (hopefully she won't remember this), but calling this mother a hero is a bit far fetched. :angryfire:
     
  24. Karina1974

    Karina1974 Well-Known Member

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    Horrible, maybe, but all too true. But then again, I can remember working at a NYS Thruway rest stop gas station and seeing a car come in from Canada with a woman in the front passenger seat holding a toddler on her lap. In blatent disregard for NYS law as it relates to where children are supposed to be riding in any vehicle, and in what type of restraint. If I hadn't been so busy running things (the shift leader was out on a road call so I was alone), I'd have called the State Trooper dispatch and reported that car.

    Louis, ITA. If I had been a witness, and the mother had actually survived, she'd have had at least 4 new assholes by the time I got done with her. Sheer stupidity. Whatever happened to Safety First?
     
  25. Hannahclear

    Hannahclear Well-Known Member

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    Ok fine, I get it. A little overly sentimental. But saying the child is better off with a dead mother? Beyond the pale IMO.
     
  26. manleywoman

    manleywoman podcast mistress

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    What's so unfortunate is that she had a second chance, if you will: the article states it got stuck the first time, she got it free, and then kept going and it got stuck again. For chrissakes, pick the stroller up a few inches and walk with it to be clear of the rails.
     
  27. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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    Exactly. Saving time isn't THAT important, especially for a parent. My mom told me she once dropped everything and left a store when I started to throw a tantrum. Would she have been a better mother had she plowed ahead and let me yell my head off for the sake of saving time and getting all the errands done? I don't think many people here would agree. :p

    No, I agree with that part. If she'd had a really close call (like if the stroller had been destroyed but both people were safe), the child might be stuck with a stupid mother but there could have been a wiser grandma at home to smack some common sense into said mother. Death is too harsh a punishment for mere stupidity, but unfortunately that's what her punishment was.
     
  28. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

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    I read that line as sarcastic, snarking on the mother's priorities in choosing to cross the tracks in the first place. I.e., better late for wherever they were headed than orphaned.

    Which, yes, speaking ill of the dead, not in great taste. But not the same as actually claiming the kid is better off without the mother.
     
  29. Louise

    Louise Banned Member

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    You know, rereading what I wrote it does sound a bit less than compassionate. This was a horrible tragedy, but oh so easily avoidable and somewhat predictable. What I meant was if the mother showed that kind of blatant lack of judgement, who knows if the next day the mother does something else that puts her little girl's life in danger. Not just health, but LIFE.

    Can you imagine the outrage if the Mom made a run for it if she could not get the stroller loose and only the baby was killed? She'd be villified. And if this baby girl did not get free and died with the mother she'd be villified for that too. What I meant was that at least this baby girl does not have to worry about a caretaker putting her life in danger again with such egregious lack of judgment.

    It just boggles the mind, because I'm sure we've all seen a movie or tv show where someone does something so predictably stupid like this and pays the price. Why tempt fate? I'm sure this has probably been done before, down to the stroller getting stuck. Too bad Superman didn't arise out of the blue and swoop down and save them... I mean, REALLY, lights and bells are going off, the RR arms go down, and then you have some clueless or reckless mother with a *baby stroller* going through the gates and, quel surprise, it gets stuck and the train keeps blowing it's horn until it runs them down.

    I feel sorry that the mother paid the ultimate price for her error in judgment. Who knows, maybe that's the first stupid thing she's ever done in her life. I certainly do not think the child is 'better off' without her mother, but the child might have been better off in the care of someone else like the grandmother with the mother only getting supervised visits. Seriously, who would have done this? On other boards people are criticizing anyone who calls attention to how stupid this was, saying, you all would probably have done the same thing. Uh, no.

    When I was growing up a family had a burmese python and two toddlers. I'm sure you can imagine what happened there too. Sometimes people are just SOOOOO stupid, that you get so angry and want to scream. I don't want to sound heartless, but some people are too stupid to live, and in the process they harm others with their stupidity.

    Just a very sad tragedy.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2011
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  30. my little pony

    my little pony snarking for AZE

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    my cousin died like this, but there was no baby. he got stuck on the tracks trying to beat it. he didnt work so it wasnt like he had to be anywhere. when people asked how he died, my grandfather used to say natural selection killed him.