Mother of Man Killed in Train Crash Sued by Railway Company

PHOTO: A Via Rail Canada passenger train sits at Dorval Station in Montreal, July 22, 2009.
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Sharon Jobson has spent the two difficult years since her son was killed in a train accident campaigning for safer train crossings in her rural Ontario town.

Last Tuesday, as she awaited their installation later this month, Jobson said she received a knock on her front door. It was the Canadian National Railway Co., the owner of the train that slammed into her son's car. It was suing her son's estate for $500,000.

"I was in shock. I couldn't believe they were doing this," Jobson said.

On July 29, 2011, John Jobson, Sharon Jobson's 22-year-old son, drove onto the seldom-used passenger railway tracks near their home and was hit and killed by a train he likely never saw coming. There were no gates or signals to alert drivers to the presence of an oncoming train.

Now gates and signals are ready for installation at the very crossing where Jobson was killed. The installation is scheduled to take place on or close to the anniversary of his death. The safety improvements came in large part from the efforts of his mother.

In the aftermath of her son's death, Jobson gathered signatures on a petition to have gates installed. She said she met with dozens of families whose loved ones had been hit and killed on the tracks where there were not adequate safety measures.

"We don't have a lot of traffic. We don't have 1,000 or 5,000 cars, like in Toronto, going over the tracks each day. We just have a few, but it seems to be people who live near the tracks who [get hit], and who came to the meeting," Jobson said. "One day a mistake is made, and there is nothing to warn them that a train is coming, like a light."

The company alleges in its complaint that John Jobson failed to heed a stop sign or take proper precautions before crossing the tracks, and that the collision caused its VIA passenger service train to derail. The railway company is seeking compensation for the costs.

Canadian National Railway declined comment because of the pending litigation.

"We just want peace," Jobson said. "We want to be alone with John. He's going to be gone two years on the 29th of July. Really, we just want to have a peaceful life, spend time alone with him."

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