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Questions Remain After Toddler Survives Being Dragged By Train

November 4, 2009

Last night, a one year old Chicago girl became trapped by CTA train door, while inside her stroller, when the train started to move. With her mother attempting to hold onto the stroller, the train continued to proceed down the platform dragging the little girl before falling out of the stroller and landing on the gravel tracks. Miraculously, the 1 year old survived. She was recently discharged from Children' Memorial Hospital following treatment for the personal injuries.

The mother of the little girl says "it' miraculous" she survived. Explaining what happened, the mother reports she was rushing to catch the southbound train at the Morse Avenue stop in Chicago' Roger' Park neighborhood. After running up the stairs while holding the stroller, the mother attempted to board the train when the train doors closed on the stroller with her girl inside. As the train started to move, the mother tried to hold on to the stroller but fell. The stroller then leaned sideways and the mother watched as her daughter' head bounce off the platform before landing on the gravel track 10 feet from the platform. The stroller continued to stay with the train and was recovered five stops later.

According to the CTA' preliminary investigation, the train doors were functioning properly. The train operator, who has been suspended without pay while the CTA continues investigate, said her control panel did not indicate any problems with the doors as she pulled away. She also claims she made all required checks before leaving the station and never saw a stroller. Robert Kelly, past president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308, told the Chicago Sun Times "either the door malfunctioned or someone is lying."

Whether the doors were functioning properly or not, it is difficult to imagine how this could occur without some form of human error. CTA procedures require the operator to look outside the cab before leaving the station to ensure the doors are completely shut. CTA procedures also require the operator to observe the outside signal lights by each train door, to verify the doors are all closed before proceeding to the next train stop.

When the CTA was immediately alerted to what happened, the operator was asked to look for the stroller. She reportedly walked through the trains looking for the stroller while at the Granville station and asking passengers if they saw the stroller. A CTA rider subsequently turned the stroller in at the Berwyn Station. The Berwyn station is three stops after the platform where the operator said she searched the entire train but found no stroller.

Posted by: Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Jason M. Kroot of Kroot Law, LLC

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