Woman sues railroad after accident


SEATTLE - A year after a Snohomish, Wash. woman's legs were crushed by a 175,000-pound piece of railroad machinery, she has filed a suit against the machine's operators.

Joann Beffert was pinned inside her truck for more than three hours.

When Beffert sees pictures of the accident now, even she is in disbelief.

Beffert remained trapped in this truck for more than 3 hours.

"I have to do a little bit of a double take and say 'I was where again?'"

Beffert's lawyers say that Union Pacific Railroad Company didn't do enough to protect workers from dangerous conditions.

The lawsuit says Beffert, then an employee of the railroad, arrived at the railroad yard at 4700 S. Denver Ave. in Seattle Feb. 16 of last year to pick up a fellow worker and drive him to another location.

As she was waiting, the machine, a "packer", fell over after it drove over a concrete drain sump cover.

The packer landed on the front middle of Beffert's pickup, pinning her legs under the dashboard. A first attempt to pull it off failed when some nylon lines broke and the machine came crashing back down again on Beffert's legs, according to the suit.

The lawsuit seeks an undisclosed amount to cover months of lost wages, medical expenses and damages.

Beffert had to undergo months of therapy to learn how walk all over again.

Union Pacific says it doesn't comment on pending lawsuits. The case is set to go to trial in August, 2003.