Attorney for victims reacts to report on zoo train accident - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Attorney for victims reacts to report on zoo train accident

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Ron Hillerich Ron Hillerich
Control panel of the zoo train (Source: Ron Hillerich) Control panel of the zoo train (Source: Ron Hillerich)

By Jon Chrisos – bio | email         
Posted by Charles Gazaway - email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – The Kentucky Department of Agriculture has released its findings into the June 1, 2009 wreck of the miniature train ride at the Louisville Zoo that injured 22 people when the train flipped off the tracks in a curve. According to the report, the ride was in poor condition, the train was traveling too fast and the operator had not been properly trained. The zoo has been fined $37,000.

Lawyers for the victims of the train accident have also been anxiously waiting for the report. Suits have been filed against the city, the zoo, and the maker of the train. We tracked down the three lawyers representing the 29 victims of this train accident. 22 of the 29 people were hurt, some seriously. Many had broken bones, head injuries, cuts, and bruises.

Ron Hillerich, one of the three lawyers for the victims, has sued the city, the zoo, and Chance Manufacturing, the company that made the train. Hillerich showed us a picture which shows the controls the operator was looking at on the day of the accident. According to Hillerich, the zoo replaced the red emergency stop button with a black one. He also says the button also wasn't clearly marked by the manufacturer.

The report from the Department of Agriculture says inadequate operator training was a factor in the accident.

"She doesn't know what the emergency brake button is or how to operate it. So she basically panics, grabs onto the train herself and what you have is a runaway train," said Hillerich.

Hillerich says some of the train passengers have been through several surgeries and more may be needed. Because of that, he says it is impossible at the moment to put a dollar figure on their injuries.

Hillerich and the other two lawyers are hoping to get everyone together and try to get this case settled as quickly as possible.

The train ride has been closed since the wreck.

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