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Railroad to pay $1.25 million to family of Plainfield man killed in crash

Providence & Worcester Railroad Co. will pay $1.25 million to the family of Rick Cima Jr., an 18-year-old Plainfield man killed in 2009 when his pick-up truck was struck by a freight train, according to a statement issued Thursday by the Reardon Law Firm of New London.

Cima was killed at 7:45 a.m. on Sept. 9, 2009, when his truck was hit by a P&W freight train at the Lillibridge Road crossing in Plainfield, a grade crossing, where there are warning lights and bells but no crossing gates.

“It was determined the train was traveling over the speed limit before the accident and the black box did not show that the train had sounded its horn before reaching the crossing,” attorney Robert I. Reardon Jr. said. “The railroad claimed the black box malfunctioned and the engineer had, in fact, sounded the train horn.”

Reardon, in a statement, said it was the second train fatality case he has handled involving grade rail crossings in Connecticut in the last five years, including one in Waterford in which a grandmother and two small children died.

“The time has come for the state and federal government to mandate the elimination of grade crossings in residential areas,” Reardon said.

The settlement was the result of mediation with Judge Holly Fitzsimmons in Bridgeport. The estate of Rick Cima was represented by attorneys Reardon, Joseph M. Barnes and Kelly E. Reardon.

P&W was represented by Flynn & Wirkus PC of Boston. A representative from the company was not immediately available for comment Thursday.

— Greg Smith


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