Velarde v. Illinois Central Railroad Co., et. al.
On February 8, 2002, a Cook County Circuit Court jury awarded Fidel and Francisca Velarde, and their daughter, a total of $55,715,406.65 for injuries suffered in a January 9, 2001 car train collision. Fidel, age 73, and Francisca, age 73, were passengers of an SUV driven by their daughter that was struck by an 8 million pound train at 50 miles per hour. The crossing gates and lights were not working and the dispatcher erroneously told the train crew that the crossing was protected. The plaintiffs suffered traumatic brain injuries in the collision. The total award to the Velardes and their daughter, who was the driver of the car, totaled $55.7 million--a state record in Illinois for a railroad crossing collision case.