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Glenview couple named as train derailment victims

Law firm identifies motorists killed in train derailment north of Chicago as Glenview couple By The Associated Press

GLENVIEW, Ill. (AP) A Chicago law firm on Friday identified a lawyer and his wife as the victims of a suburban freight train derailment that collapsed a railroad bridge and sent hundreds of tons of coal crashing down onto the road below.

Burton and Zorine Lindner, of Glenview, were driving under a railroad bridge Wednesday when the train derailed. Twenty-eight rail cars hauling coal piled up on the bridge, causing it to collapse over a road between the suburbs of Glenview and Northbrook. A huge mound of twisted train cars and coal filled the gap where the bridge had been.

Officials said initially that no one was injured, but workers clearing debris discovered a bumper Thursday morning and later uncovered the crushed car with the victims inside.



Burton Lindner, 69, was a lawyer with his own practice in downtown Chicago, working alongside his son, Robert. He graduated from DePaul Law School in 1970, according to a biography on the website of the firm, Lindner and Lindner.

He also traveled extensively in Asia, taught at a community college and served as the director of the American Asian Amity Association.

"They were wonderful human beings, very good, wonderful family people," said Mollie Fisher, an assistant at Fisher and LaMonica, the law firm representing Robert Lindner.

The firm filed a wrongful death lawsuit Friday accusing Union Pacific Railroad Co. of negligence and failing to maintain the safety of the tracks and freight cars. The three-count lawsuit seeks at least $150,000 in damages.

The 138-car Union Pacific train was hauling coal from an eastern Wyoming mine to a utility in Wisconsin. It was one of the 500 freight trains carrying 631 million tons of cargo that go through the Chicago area each day.

Inspectors from the Federal Railroad Administration were on the scene to investigate, spokesman Michael England said.

One possible factor was the extreme heat, which can cause rails to expand, leading to a derailment. Temperatures soared above 100 degrees in the Chicago area Wednesday.

The bridge then collapsed under the weight of the rail cars. Each one carrying coal weighed 75 to 85 tons.

"We ruled out the bridge failing and then the train derailing, based on the discussion with the train crew" as well as viewing the images from a camera on the train, Union Pacific spokesman Mike Davis said previously.

Another railroad spokesman Tom Lange said the company "would like to express its deepest sympathies to the families of the deceased."

Glenview Village Manager Todd Hileman said Friday that he and other local officials wanted Union Pacific to provide engineering data proving the safety of their plans to quickly put the line back in service even before a new bridge is built.

"We're concerned at this point that they may be attempting to run trains across the bridge without any evidence of structural safety reports," Hileman said.

Davis said the railroad planned to fill the gap in the line with a temporary gravel rail bed until a new bridge is designed, built and installed.

___

Keyser reported from Chicago.


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