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Local News

Lawsuit filed over Joliet man's trucking death at Union Pacific

JOLIET – A woman has filed a lawsuit after her son died last year after being crushed between two trucks at a Joliet business.

Geraldine Hughes filed a wrongful death lawsuit Monday in Will County Court on behalf of her late son against the Union Pacific Railroad, CenterPoint Properties and Caleast Centerpoint, according to court records. The accident happened on Union Pacific-owned property located at the CenterPoint Intermodal Center.

About 4:20 p.m. Feb. 13, 2015, Jeremy Hughes, 22, of Joliet, was working for Intermodal Services of America, a business located within the Union Pacific Intermodal, as a "spotter" who used his own semi-tractor as a "hostler" to move trailers within the yard.

When the trailer Hughes was moving into an assigned parking space became stuck in snow and ice, Hughes got out of his truck and "attempted to attach a strap between his hostler and the hostler of a co-worker," according to the lawsuit.

At the same time, a co-worker backed his trailer into the trailer attached to Hughes' truck, which caused Hughes' trailer to jackknife and pinned him between his truck and a parked trailer, the lawsuit claimed.

The lawsuit claims Hughes was employed by Union Pacific under the federal employer's liability act, which failed to provide him with a safe place to work and inspect or fix dangerous conditions caused by the snow and ice.

Union Pacific is named in eight counts of the lawsuit, CenterPoint and Caleast Centerpoint, which also does business as Solstice Holdings, are each named in two.

The lawsuit claims both businesses are responsible under "premises liability" for failing to inspect or safeguard the yard.

Union Pacific spokesman Aaron Hunt said Friday afternoon that company representatives had yet to see the lawsuit and could not comment. CenterPoint did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment.

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