• August 30, 2022

Mario Navarro Killed in Train Derail Accident near Barton Street in El Paso, TX

UPDATE (August 31, 2022): The person who died in this accident has been identified as 49-year-old train conductor Mario Aurelio Navarro.

While determining the reason for the train's derailment, investigators learned that work was recently done on the track and a derailment device was installed to protect the workers from oncoming trains. Navarro was reportedly given clearance to proceed with guiding a train into Alfalfa Rail Yard, but the derailer was still in place and the train left the track. Navarro was hit by a train car as it overturned.

El Paso, TX — August 29, 2022, one person died after a Union Pacific train derailed and hit him in the Lower Valley area of El Paso.

According to reports the incident happened around 9:20 p.m. on tracks around the 7700 block of Barton Street. Preliminary investigation suggests the train derailed for unknown reasons during a routine maneuver as it entered the Alfalfa Rail Yard. Two of its cars reportedly left the tracks for unknown reasons, after which one ruptured a nearby gas line. The gas vaults were quickly deactivated and workers arrived to repair the damage line.

A railroad employee was fatally injured during the accident; preliminary reports didn't say how.

The investigation is ongoing. No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Mario Navarro Train Accident in El Paso

UPDATE (August 31, 2022): New developments found by investigators seem pretty troubling. If they're right, then railroad workers left behind a device specifically designed to send an oncoming train off the tracks. It's meant as a safety precaution while they work, and I'm sure when applied properly it has saved lives. However, to leave it on the tracks and to misinform the person responsible for guiding a train into the yard seem like serious breaches of practice. If reports are right about how this tragedy occurred then I hope suitable action is taken to hold the right parties accountable.

ORIGINAL: Folks might understandably not be sure what injured railroad workers (or the families of those who die on the job) do after an accident like this occurs. Some might think that workers' compensation benefits will apply, but railroad workers' injuries are actually covered by a different system--the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA).

Those interested in learning more about FELA can click here and read an article I wrote previously explaining the system and how it can help injured railroad workers and their loved ones.

Mario Navarro Killed in Train Derail Accident near Barton Street in El Paso, TX
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