Families of 2 Chester children file lawsuit against Amtrak after fatal crash

Police say 9-year-old Jahaad Atkinson and 12-year-old Ahyir Womak were both killed in the incident.

This story originally appeared on 6abc. 

The families of two Chester, Pennsylvania children who were hit and killed by an Amtrak train are filing a lawsuit.

Police say 9-year-old Jahaad Atkinson and 12-year-old Ahyir Womak were playing on the train tracks at Second and Engel streets when they were struck by a train heading southbound to Washington, D.C. on April 29.

An attorney representing the boys’ families says they were crossing the track, using it as a shortcut, when they were killed.

Their mothers spoke at a press conference on Wednesday.

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“This has been very hard for me,” said Wydeia Kimble, Ah’yir Womack’s mother. “It’s been very hard for my children as well.”

“He was a great kid. He was a mama’s boy, for sure,” Siana Gordon, Jahaad Atkinson’s mother, said.

The lawsuit filed in federal court is alleging negligence by Amtrak because the company failed to fix a hole in a fence around the tracks.

“It is also alleged and therefore averred that Amtrak knew or should have known that a complete, well-maintained fence was necessary to prevent children from trespassing on its train tracks. As such, Amtrak knew or should have known that lack of such a fence would pose an unreasonable risk of death and/or a serious bodily injury to those children,” a portion of the lawsuit states.

Emeka Igwe, the attorney representing both families, said Amtrak constructed the fencing.

“The fences are there for a reason. They recognize there is a potential danger. If you’re going to put up the fences, maintain those fences,” Igwe said.

Igwe said children in Chester used the hole in the fence for years as a shortcut to get to nearby parks and playgrounds.

Since the incident in April, the fencing has been repaired.

Action News has reached out to Amtrak for their response to the lawsuit. The transportation agency said it is unable to comment on pending litigation.

Action News also asked Amtrak when and why it initially added fencing around certain parts of the tracks in Chester, but the agency has not responded.

Igwe has also called on the National Transportation Safety Board to look into this case. The NTSB told Action News it is not investigating this incident.The boys’ families are now asking for monetary damages and a trial, if it comes to that.”I really do pray that we get justice for our sons and that this does not happen to another family,” Kimble said.

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