Posted on Apr 04, 2012

The family of a dance instructor killed in 2010 when a train crashed into her SUV has received a $6 million settlement in an Illinois wrongful death suit.

Katie Ann Lunn, who lived in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, had been driving home from a dance competition at Governor’s State University in University Park. Lunn’s students had performed in the competition.

Lunn had been crossing the train track at Stuenkel Road in south suburban University Park at about 9:40 p.m. on April 16, 2010, when a high-speed Amtrak train hit her SUV, killing her. Witnesses said that the signals did not come on and the gate did not come down until the train had almost passed.

The wrongful death suit against Illinois Central Railroad Company claimed that the crossing signals had been turned off earlier in the day for maintenance and had never been turned back on.

A witness to the accident, Cook County prosecutor Lauren Brown, told authorities that “the lights and the gate did not work. It was horrible…I did not know that train was there ’til it was upon me.” Ms. Brown had crossed the tracks seconds before Lunn.

Lisa Smith, another witness who drove across the tracks before Lunn, said, “There were no flashing lights. The gates did not come down.”

Lunn taught at the Joffrey Ballet School in Chicago and the School of Performing Arts in Naperville. She danced with the Chicago Dance Theater and the Hip Hop Connxion.

Although there is nothing that can compensate for the loss of such a promising young life, we are pleased that Ms. Lunn’s family won their case.