Railroad employee paralyzed in NYC derailment sues for $100M

A railroad employee paralyzed in a deadly New York crash says he has forgiven the engineer at the controls.
By Frances Burns  |  April 9, 2014 at 4:27 PM
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NEW YORK, April 9 (UPI) -- A railroad employee paralyzed when a commuter train derailed in New York City is seeking $100 million in damages.

Samuel Rivera, 39, who was a maintenance employee for Metro-North Railroad, spoke to reporters Wednesday at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital in White Plains, N.Y. Rivera lost the use of his legs in the Dec. 1 crash in The Bronx and has limited use of his arms.

Rivera's lawsuit was filed Monday in Superior Court in The Bronx. Eddie Russell, a New York police officer who had just retired when he was injured in the wreck, sued for $10 million Friday.

Doctors say Rivera is unlikely to regain the ability to walk.

The train was going more than 80 mph on a curve where the speed limit is 30 mph when it left the tracks, killing four people and injuring at least 60.

Rivera said he has forgiven the engineer, William Rockefeller. Rockefeller told investigators his mind drifted at the time.

“People make mistakes,” Rivera said. “It happens. His mistake just ended up as a major tragedy. I do forgive him.”

Rivera, who was on his way to Grand Central Station with his son, Samuel Jr., 14, said he thought he was dying after he slammed into one of the car's sides. He said he told the teen "take care of mommy."

Rivera has become an advocate for seat belts on trains.

Gregory Cannata, Rivera's lawyer, said Metro-North is "really standing by him," including paying for renovations to his house. But he said Rivera and his family will need a lot of money for nursing care.

[NY Daily News]

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