Two years after a train carrying a Republican congressional delegation collided with a trash truck, five more passengers have filed lawsuits targeting the driver, trash company and train conductor.
Soon after the crash, Dana Naylor Jr., 32, was charged with involuntary manslaughter and maiming while under the influence after authorities alleged he drove a Time Disposal garbage truck onto train tracks on Jan. 31, 2018, leading to the collision that killed Chris Foley and severely injured Dennis Eddy, both passengers in the truck.
Naylor was found not guilty during a 2019 trial in Albemarle County Circuit Court, but has been targeted by at least eight lawsuits since the crash, five of which were filed in January.
The five most recent lawsuits all come from passengers on the train and name Naylor as a defendant along with Time Disposal, LLC; Buckingham Branch Railroad Company; and Robert Shawn Young, the conductor of the Amtrak train.
The train was carrying dozens of Republican members of Congress to a retreat in West Virginia when it crashed, but none of the five recent plaintiffs — Andrew Bruot, Leonard Claytor, Leonard Michael Condron, Frank Cottone and Andrew Ripetta — are legislators. They all are represented by the Moody Law Firm, which is based in Portsmouth and specializes in personal injury lawsuits.
The Moody Law Firm also is representing Young, who filed a similar negligence lawsuit in 2019.
The five mostly identical lawsuits allege negligence on behalf of the defendant and, apart from Claytor, request $750,000 in compensatory damages collectively from the defendants and $350,000 in punitive damages from Naylor.
Claytor’s lawsuit only names Naylor and Time Disposal as defendants and requests $72,500 in compensatory damages.
None of the lawsuits describe specific injuries or name the complainants’ job positions beyond being passengers on the train.
The suits’ claims largely follow a National Transportation Safety Board report from last year that found Naylor drove the truck around lowered crossing gate arms and onto the tracks, where it was struck by the train.
The report also notes the presence of marijuana in a lunchbox within the cabin of the truck, found after the crash, and that Naylor’s blood tested positive for the active ingredient in marijuana.
Both pieces of evidence were thrown out of Naylor’s trial by an Albemarle County Circuit Court judge due to the uncertainty of current testing.
The suits claim that the drugs are significant, however.
“At and during the time Defendant Naylor was using drugs, he could have reasonably foreseen with the exercise of reasonable care that his ability to operate a motor vehicle would be impaired,” the complaints read.
Four lawsuits allege that the conductor, Young, took too long to engage the brake, waiting until the train was just a few seconds away from the trash truck.
Naylor and other defendants also are named in a 2018 lawsuit from Clinton Boyea.
According to Boyea’s complaint, he was the lead service attendant during the time of the crash and sustained injuries to his left leg and ankle. Boyea’s lawsuit also names AmTrak as a defendant, under a Federal Employer’s Liability Act claim.
Per online court records, Boyea’s lawsuit is set for a five-day jury trial beginning July 13.
The eighth complaint was filed by Stephen Kenney, a passenger from the front of the train. The case was dismissed in October 2019 after a settlement was reached.