WASHINGTON, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- A U.S. passenger has charged freight giant CSX of "gross negligence" and "reckless disregard" of safety standards following Sunday's train crash leaving two dead and more than 100 injured in South Carolina.
The Amtrak passenger, identified as James Daymon, has filed the lawsuit in Circuit Court in Lexington County, seeking more than 75,000 dollars in damages from CSX, local media reported on Thursday.
At the time of the crash, the Amtrak Silver Service train carrying eight crew members and nearly 140 passengers including Daymon was operating on railroad tracks "owned, maintained and operated by CSX," said the reports, citing the lawsuit.
"CSX improperly locked with a padlock the rail switch, which erroneously directed through trains, like the Silver Service train, into the CSX railyard onto the wrong set of tracks, which were already occupied by parked trains and rail cars," the lawsuit said.
"As a result of the improper locking of the switch by CSX, the Silver Service train was directed onto the wrong set of tracks," the lawsuit said.
The Amtrak engineer applied the brakes but it was too late and his train "crashed head-on into the idling CSX train," the lawsuit said.
"CSX has a duty to exercise reasonable care to avoid injuring or killing members of the public," the lawsuit said. "In this case, CSX breached their duty by failing to exercise reasonable care."
Daymon also alleged CSX made a "deliberate decision that it will be cheaper to pay compensatory damages for claims resulting from train wrecks and derailments than to install and maintain an appropriate train control system."
Furthermore, he alleged major railroads, including CSX, have "defied" the 2008 Rail Safety Improvement Act. Under that law, a modern safety technology called "positive train control" was to be in place nationwide by Dec. 31, 2015.
"CSX does not comment on litigation." A CSX spokeswoman said Thursday.
Two Amtrak employees were killed and more than 100 injured as an Amtrak passenger train on the wrong track collided into a CSX freight train early Sunday morning in South Carolina. The damage to train cars is estimated to be in the millions of dollars.
It is the third deadly wreck involving Amtrak in about two months. In December, an Amtrak train derailed in northwestern U.S. state of Washington, killing three people and injured dozens. Last week, an Amtrak train carrying Republican lawmakers to a retreat in West Virginia hit a garbage truck in Virginia, leaving one dead and two seriously injured.