Two Men Allegedly Caused Train Accident as Part of Insurance Scam
Two South Carolina men face federal charges for intentionally parking their vehicle on train tracks, causing a train accident, and then claiming they were injured as part of an insurance scam.
James Love, 33, and Deon Roberts, 34, were both indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of intentionally causing a serious train crash involving an Amtrak train on September 6th, 2013.
Their indictment for federal charges, which was unsealed on Wednesday, April 15th, claims that the men parked a stolen car on Amtrak train tracks in Allendale County, then left and waited for the train to crash into it. Then, Love got back into the damaged car, while Roberts laid down beside it, and they pretended to be injured so they could submit bogus claims for personal injury and vehicle damage.
They have officially been arrested on federal charges of mail and wire fraud as part of the insurance scam. Love is also a convicted felon and, in a separate indictment, has been charged for possession of a shotgun and live shells.
Amtrak Inspector General Tom Howard emphasized that: “The safety of the American railroad system is among the highest priorities of the country’s law enforcement agencies. Those who would seek to interfere with the well-being of Amtrak’s passengers and the commerce of the railroads will be held accountable to the greatest extent allowed under the law.”
None of the 128 passengers on the Amtrak train were hurt in the train accident.
Train Accidents in South Carolina Cause Serious Damage
Because South Carolina has a very active port in Charleston, the state is covered in train tracks for both passenger and freight trains. It is vitally important that managing companies maintain these lines and ensure safety according to federal and state train safety standards, but that does not mean that all railroad crossings are perfectly safe.
A train accident can be caused by several factors:
- Crossings that are obstructed by vegetation or other objects
- Limited visibility on the part of drivers or train operators
- The negligent actions of train operators, such as approaching crossings without their lights on and horn sounding
- Unsafe train conditions, including machinery or train parts sticking out, over-sized loads, and crossings that rely only on signs or lights and do not have working safety arms
Although it is incumbent on companies to maintain the safety of crossings, it is equally important for drivers to ensure safety by paying attention. Avoid distracted driving or drunk driving.
Other safety tips to avoid a train accident include:
- Never stop on train tracks
- Never assume that a train track is not in use
- Report railroad safety features that are not working properly, such as defective safety arms
- Never try to beat a train across the tracks or go around railroad safety arms
- Watch for second trains
The Strom Law Firm Helps Those Injured in Train Accidents
If you are a victim and have been involved in a train accident, whether in a vehicle that was hit due to unsafe railroad crossings, or on the train that derailed, you may have a personal injury case. The South Carolina personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at the Strom Law Firm know that the state has numerous railroad crossings and it is important to hold railroads to a high safety standard. We offer a free case evaluation to discuss your injuries, so contact us today for help. 803.252.4800