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Passenger who lost end of finger in train crash plans to sue

Lynda Kest, right, of Tenafly, N.J., points to the area where her husband, Sheldon Kest, left, was injured during the Sept. 29, 2016 New Jersey Transit fatal train crash at the Hoboken Terminal, during a news conference announcing their lawsuit against the rail company, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016, in Newark, N.J. Sheldon Kest suffered injuries to his head and lost part of his right middle finger during the crash. Lynda Kest was not riding on the train. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
October 11, 2016 - 1:03 PM

NEWARK, N.J. - A man who lost part of a finger and suffered other injuries in a deadly train crash has filed notice of his intent to sue.

Lawyers for Sheldon Kest announced the planned lawsuit against New Jersey Transit during a news conference in Newark on Tuesday.

The 66-year-old Tenafly man was a passenger in the front car of the train that crashed into Hoboken Terminal on Sept. 29. He also suffered a broken nose and lacerations to his head and face.

Investigators say the engineer was travelling more than double the 10 mph speed limit just before the crash. The crash killed one woman standing on the platform and injured more than 100 other people.

"I'm so fortunate to be here and to hopefully, through the legal system, help prevent another senseless, deadly New Jersey Transit crash," Kest said. "I need to know: Why did it happen? How did it happen? And who should be held accountable so it never happens again?"

The preliminary filing doesn't say what Kest is seeking. Tort claims are filed against public agencies in New Jersey to give them a chance to settle the case before a lawsuit is filed.

One of Kest's attorneys, Andrew Duffy, said they don't expect New Jersey to resolve the claim and expect to file suit.

An NJ Transit spokeswoman declined to comment. At least three other victims have also filed claims this month against the transit agency.

Eight of the 17 tracks at Hoboken Terminal reopened Monday, while the others will remain out of service until further notice as repair work continues in that section of the busy station, where commuters connect with other trains and with ferries heading into New York City,

With the resumption of service, a new rule will require that the conductor join the engineer whenever a train pulls into the terminal. That means a second set of eyes will be watching as a train enters the final phase of its trip at stations where there are platforms at the end of the rails.

The engineer in the crash was alone at the time. He has told federal investigators he has no memory of the crash.

News from © The Associated Press, 2016
The Associated Press

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