Emergency crews responded to a collision between a freight train and a Mercedes at an uncontrolled crossing at Smith Crescent on May 8

Train accident victim launches $5 million lawsuit

Jane Huang suffered ‘catastrophic injuries’ after her vehicle was hit by a train at an uncontrolled Langley railway crossing in 2014

A woman who suffered serious injuries after her vehicle was slammed into by a freight train at an uncontrolled rail crossing in Langley nearly three years ago, has launched a $5 million lawsuit against Canadian Pacific and CN Rail.

Canadian Pacific owns the rail line and CN rail was operating on the track on the day of the collision.

On May 8, 2014, Jane Huang was driving her Mercedes southbound on Smith Crescent when the vehicle was struck by an eastbound CN train travelling 46 km/h at the crossing, “causing her catastrophic injuries,” according to court documents.

The collision sent her car careening into a nearby ditch.

As a result of the accident, Huang suffered a traumatic brain injury, central cord syndrome, a C5 ASIA D spinal cord injury, vertigo, soft tissue injuries and pain to the spine and neck, as well as weakness in her left hand and leg, problems with speech, multiple abrasions, bruises, and strains, nausea and dizziness, and emotional disruption, the court documents show.

Huang wants to prove in court that the crossing was known by the defendants to be dangerous to vehicles prior to the collision and that no safety upgrades to the crossing took place prior to the collision.

She also wants to show the nature of the dangerous conditions surrounding the crossing at various points in time preceding and subsequent to the collision.

In 2016, CBC News identified the Smith Crescent rail crossing as one of the 25 most dangerous in Canada, based on crash records collected by the Transportation Safety Board.

Since 2000, the site has seen five serious train accidents, including one that killed a pedestrian.

• On Feb. 10, 2014, a CN train travelling eastbound at the crossing struck and killed a pedestrian;

• On Dec. 31, 2015, a CN freight train travelling eastbound struck a vehicle travelling southbound on Smith Crescent at the crossing. No one was injured;

• On Dec. 23, 2002, a CN freight train travelling westbound hit a southbound commercial vehicle turning right from Glover Road onto Smith Crescent. The collision is believed to have caused more than $2.5 million in damage.

• On April 13, 2006, a CP freight train travelling eastbound struck a southbound vehicle at the crossing.

As well, Huang contends that in late 2002 and early 2003, a large berm was constructed by Britco Leasing, on property owned by Smithville Properties. The berm is alleged by Huang to have “ultimately caused significant sightline problems that caused the plaintiff’s collision on May 8, 2014.”

Court documents note that in 2007, CN, CPR, the Ministry of Transportation, Transport Canada, Britco and the Township “all agreed that the Crossing warranted significant upgrades to improve the safety of the Crossing and a submission for funding was ultimately made, and approved by Transport Canada”

“Unfortunately, the proposed safety upgrades to the crossing never occurred,” according to the court documents.

Court proceedings got underway today (Monday, March 27) in Vancouver.

– Files from CBC News

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