Chicago Switchman Crushed in Hump Yard

Andres Tapia, 34, a Belt Railway of Chicago switchman died in the early morning of July 26, 2011 according to the UTU publication. Working a two-person remote control assignment in a hump yard, he was caught between two cars and crushed.

Tapia, who had three years of service, died at local hospital. His fellow yard workers found him after they heard a "man down" alert. The Federal Railroad Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.

Tapia was a member of UTU Local 1597 of Chicago and the fourth union member to die in an on-duty railway accident this year.

In June, UTU member of Local 1732 in San Jose, California, and a conductor, Laurette Lee, 68, died when the Amtrak train she was riding — the California Zephyr — was hit broadside by a tractor-trailer combination at a crossing near Reno, Nevada.

In May, a member of UTU Local 970 in Abbeville, South Carolina and a conductor, Phillip E. Crawford, Jr., 33, died in Mineral Springs, North Carolina, during a rear-end collision between two CSX freight trains.

In April, two persons were killed. One was conductor Patricia Hyatt, 48, a UTU Local 199 member of Creston, Iowa, who was Vice Local Chairperson. She died when the freight train hauling 130 loaded coal hoppers hit the rear of another BNSF train. That train's engineer also died.

In both 2009 and 2010, eight UTU members died in on-duty rail accidents.

If you or a loved one is severely injured or killed while working as a railroad worker, you might qualify for compensation under FELA law. You should speak with a qualified FELA lawyer to make sure you receive the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to. Contact us for an evaluation of your case.

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