Family of Hurricane student killed while walking home sues - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Family of Hurricane student killed while walking home from school sues

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A wrongful death suit filed by the family of 16-year-old Jacob Ball, the Hurricane High School student struck by a train and killed as he walked home from school in January 2012, against CSX, the Putnam County Board of Education and the City of Hurricane has been moved to federal court.

CSX petitioned for removal of the suit, originally filed in Putnam County Circuit Court in February.

The suit states the youth was walking along a path next to the railroad tracks when he was struck from behind by a passing train.

It conceded the boy could not hear the train's approach "because, as is customary for school students of this age, he was wearing headphones."

The Balls claim CSX, the city and board "each owed a duty" to warn students as well as the general public of the hazard of using the shortcut, the most direct route to various neighborhoods within the city. They said warning devices and horns were inadequate.

"Defendant, CSX, knew or should have known, the ultra-hazardous nature of this crossing, and the nuisance in the walking area, but elected not to take any action to lessen the danger to the public," the suit stated. "The warning devices maintained by (CSX) at the crossing and walkway were not adequate to address the safety needs of the public in the crossing and walkway given the specific, individual hazardous conditions which were known or should have been known to defendant CSX."

It also claimed the city and board of ed "owed a duty to those in the area of the CSX railroad tracks, crossing and the adjacent area used as a regular pedestrian walkway by the public in general and school children, in particular, to provide for safe access and safe travel in that area."

The Balls are seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, plus court costs and attorney fees.

They are represented by Guy R. Bucci and D. Blake Carter Jr. of Bucci, Bailey & Javins, LC, in Charleston.

CSX attorney, Robert Massie, could not be reached for comment.