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Houston Chronicle: 10 workers to sue Shell over bus-train accident

Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle

Ten passengers on a bus that was hit by a train at the Shell Oil Co.’s Deer Park plant earlier this week are suing the company, claiming an unguarded railroad crossing posed an unreasonable risk of harm.

The passengers, all employees of AltairStrickland, filed suit Thursday in a Harris County district court.

They, along with about 30 other AltairStrickland employees, were riding in a school bus from a satellite parking lot to inside the 1,500-acre Shell facility Tuesday morning when the collision occurred.

Aside from Shell, also named in the lawsuit are Port of Houston Authority International Corp., operators of the engine involved in the collision, and Brand Scaffold Builders LLC, which operated the bus.

Attorney Tony Buzbee said many of his clients suffered back injuries because they were sitting in the back of the bus. The train struck the left rear side of the vehicle.

The plaintiffs — Willie Tutt, Raymond D. Carrell, Latonia W. Fury, Michael Hurst, Antonio Williams, Bobbie Hampton, Fredrick Bernard Johnson, Matt Pledger, Fletcher Collins and Zimbalust McCoy — are seeking damages for pain and anguish, medical expenses, loss of wages, physical impairment and disfigurement.

Dave McKinney, a spokesman for Shell, said he could not comment on the litigation.

“It’s still under investigation,” he said of the accident. Officials with the railroad could not be reached for comment. A Brand Scaffold representative had no comment.

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