LORAIN, Ohio - The families of three of four Brunswick High School students killed in a crash two years ago filed a lawsuit on Tuesday.
Jeffery Chaya, Blake Bartchak, Kevin Fox and Lexi Poerner were all killed in a car crash On June 3, 2012. Julia Romito was the only survivor.
The five students were in the car when it flipped and crashed at the railroad crossing on Boston Road in Columbia Township. That is on the border of Lorain and Medina counties.
Families of Bartchak, Poerner and Fox, the passengers in the car, are suing CSX Transportation, Medina and Lorain County Commissioners, Medina and Lorain County engineers and Columbia Township and Liverpool Township trustees.
The lawsuit stated that the railroad and officials in the counties and townships should have known about the dangers of the steep crossing and taken steps before the crash to mitigate the danger.
They had a duty to “inspect, repair, upgrade and maintain the roadway, berm, culvert and right of way at the crossing of Boston Road,” according to the suit.
The railroad was negligent, the suit said, in failing to fulfill its “duty to maintain, repair, inspect and upgrade” the crossing.
The state spent about $450,000 to level the railroad crossing last year.
Investigators believe speed played a role in the crash. Police said drivers were known to use the crossing’s steep grade as a ramp to “jump” their vehicles. The Ohio Highway Patrol determined that Chaya’s Chevrolet Cavalier was traveling at 69 mph when he lost control of the vehicle.
Lorain County, Medina County, Liverpool Township, Columbia Township, ODOT, and the railroad company, CSX, all agreed to change the roadway after the fatal crash.