December 18, 2014

Elyria
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Brunswick crash victims’ families file wrongful-death suit

This photo, taken in 2012, shows the Boston Road railroad crossing’s grade as it was when a Chevy Cavalier jumped over and crashed, killing four Brunswick High School students. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTOS

This photo, taken in 2012, shows the Boston Road railroad crossing’s grade as it was when a Chevy Cavalier jumped over and crashed, killing four Brunswick High School students. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTOS

ELYRIA — The families of three of four Brunswick High School students killed in a car crash two years ago filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against CSX Corporation, Columbia and Liverpool township trustees and the commissioners and engineers in Lorain and Medina counties.

Killed in the June 3, 2012, crash were Blake Bartchak, 17, Lexi Poerner, 16, Kevin Fox, 18, and driver Jeffrey Chaya, 18. The lawsuit was filed Monday in Lorain County Common Pleas Court by the families of Bartchak, Poerner and Fox.

A fifth person in the vehicle, Julia Romito, survived the crash but had no memory of what happened.

Ohio Highway Patrol investigators and the vehicle dashboard said the car was going 69 mph.

Ohio Highway Patrol investigators and the vehicle dashboard said the car was going
69 mph.

The Ohio Highway Patrol determined that Chaya’s Chevrolet Cavalier was traveling at 69 mph when he lost control of the vehicle as he crossed the railroad tracks on Boston Road in Columbia Station.

The lawsuit said the car went airborne, left the roadway, crashed into a culvert and flipped onto its roof. Police have said drivers were known to use the steep grade of the crossing as a ramp to launch their vehicles airborne.

The railroad crossing underwent a $450,000 safety overhaul, including smoothing down the grade in the wake of the crash.

The speed limit in the area was lowered and caution signs were put up as well.

The lawsuit contends that the governmental entities and the railroad knew or should have known about the dangers of the crossing and taken steps before the crash to mitigate the danger.