Conductor’s wife alleging negligence in deadly train crash

COLUMBIA — The wife of a conductor killed in last weekend’s crash of an Amtrak train with a parked freight train in South Carolina sued Amtrak and the other rail company Thursday.

Michael Cella’s widow accuses Amtrak and CSX Corp. of negligence in the death of her husband. Cella, 36, and Amtrak engineer Michael Kempf, 54, were killed Sunday when their New York-to-Miami passenger train slammed into a CSX freight train stopped on a side track. More than 100 passengers were injured.

CSX, which operates the track on which both trains were traveling, was negligent in a number of areas, according to the suit filed in Florida.

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board have said that, after offloading cargo at a nearby yard, the empty CSX train was moved to a side track with a train switch locked in place. When the Amtrak train came along, it diverted onto the siding, slamming into the CSX train.

The suit also said CSX “deliberately disabled” warning signals along the pathway that would have warned oncoming trains about the diversion and also didn’t have a safety system that could have likely prevented the crash.