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Family of Woman Killed In Car-Train Wreck Awarded $25 Million

May 24, 1996

SANDUSKY, Ohio (AP) _ A jury awarded $25 million to the family of a woman killed in a car-train accident seven years ago.

Michelle Wightman’s car was hit by a Conrail freight train at a Sandusky railroad crossing in February 1989.

Her family sued Conrail, claiming the company was negligent because her view was obstructed by a stopped train. A jury in 1990 awarded $1 million in compensatory damages to her family.

After delays, another jury this week heard testimony in the punitive phase of the same trial. The panel on Thursday awarded $25 million in punitive damages.

A lawyer for the Wightman family, Thomas Murray, said he hoped the verdict would send a message to Conrail that the company has to upgrade railroad crossings to prevent accidents.

Telephone messages left at Conrail’s Philadelphia headquarters were not returned Friday.

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