Parents watched as girl was hit by train
A COUPLE watched a car carrying their three-year-old daughter drive on to a level crossing as a train thundered down the line, a court heard yesterday.
The vehicle was hit by the 80mph train and the girl, Sara Clegg, suffered life-threatening injuries. A man in the car was killed.
Sara's parents, Jim and Lorna Clegg, are claiming damages for the trauma of witnessing the accident. They are suing both the driver of the car, a family friend, and Network Rail which maintained the allegedly "dangerous" crossing.
The Court of Session was told that the barriers could be lifted by a motorist simply operating a push-button control, as the driver had done that day.
"I understood the crossing to be clear...at that moment a train came at full speed," said Mr Clegg, of Clarkston, Glasgow, who, with his wife and son, had been in a second car waiting to cross.
He described thinking that the car being driven by his friend, Jane Rogerson, a television producer, had made it across safely: "We realised after the train passed, the car was not there...it had been hit. I think it was Lorna that screamed. We clambered over the barriers and ran up to the car."
His daughter had been a passenger in the rear seat of the two-door car. Ms Rogerson's partner, Bruce Thomson, had been sitting in front of the girl.
"At first we could not even see Sara in the back. The booster seat had been knocked off and she was lying in the rear footwell. We opened the door to try to get to Sara and Bruce fell out the car. He was injured and unconscious. Jane was injured but I could hear her moaning," said Mr Clegg, a roads engineer.
Sara had been taken to hospital and a consultant neurosurgeon was called from his home to attend to her. "He came in to see Lorna and me. He explained he was going to remove part of Sara's skull and he could not guarantee that she would live," said Mr Clegg.
The court heard that there was a separate damages action in relation to Sara's brain injury, but in the present case Mr and Mrs Clegg were seeking up to 80,000 for the mental trauma they had suffered, and for wages lost by Mrs Clegg, a human resources consultant.
Lawyers for Ms Rogerson, of Dowanside Road, Glasgow, maintain that the crossing was "inherently dangerous" and that Network Rail should be held negligent. They say improved safety measures were introduced after the accident.
Network Rail says a red warning light was illuminated during the incident on 5 May, 2001, and a klaxon was sounding, yet Ms Rogerson had driven on to the crossing.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North east