Tupelo couple blames railroad for wife's injuries

OXFORD – Helen and Jerry Gable of Tupelo want $6.4 million from Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co. for what they say they’ve experienced since she was injured near the tracks across Lumpkin Street.
The railroad says it’s sorry for her injuries but notes even Helen Gable admits in her own lawsuit that she was trespassing when she went onto the tracks to take photos Oct. 15, 2006.
The lawsuit, originally filed in Circuit Court of Lee County, was moved Friday to U.S. District Court by the railroad company.
The Gables also sued the train’s engineer, conductor and up to five unknown people who may have caused or contributed to the incident.
They’re asking for $6.43 million, which includes $5 million for Helen Gable’s pain and suffering, $326,626 for her medical bills, $361,725 for her loss of earning capacity, as well as $750,000 for Jerry Gable’s mental anguish and loss of sexual relations with his wife.
The lawsuit, which is just one side of the story, claims that about 2:30 p.m. that day, Helen Gable was standing on the tracks taking photos of her niece’s daughter, then caught her foot in the track slope as she left the railway.
As she did so, a piece of metal “cable, wire or banding” swinging off the train’s side hit her, nearly severing her right leg.
The couple insist the railroad and everybody else were negligent, failed to inspect cars and failed to prevent people from getting onto the tracks. They also say the train was going too fast.
They also blame the conductor for not stopping the train to prevent Helen Gable from being injured.
BNSF Railway spokeswoman Suann Lundsberg said the company is investigating and has equipment that detects if something is hanging or dragging from a train.
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@djournal.com.

Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal