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Glens Falls Hit with Lawsuit Over 2019 Trolley Crash

Glens Falls was recently hit with a lawsuit over a 2019 trolley bus crash.

Poonam Chawla, a resident of Albany County, New York, recently filed a lawsuit against Glens Falls, Greater Glens Falls Transit System, and Elizabeth Rose, the operator of a trolley bus that struck Chawla last year in the village of Lake George. The suit is seeking unspecified monetary damages and was filed June 22 in the state Supreme Court in Warren County. The incident happened back on August 30, 2019.

Image by Brian Turner/Flickr. Retrieved from Wikimedia Commons. (CCA-BY-2.0)

According to the lawsuit, when Chawla was struck by the trolley bus, she was “dragged under…while attempting to cross Canada Street at the intersection of Beach Road.” The suit was officially filed seven months after she filed a notice of claim, “seeking compensation for severe and permanent personal injuries, as well as expenses and other damages she claims to have suffered.” When the defendants failed to respond to the claim, the lawsuit was officially filed. 

As a result of the incident, Chawla suffered an array of injuries, including “two collapsed lungs, multiple rib and hip fractures, liver damage, kidney failure, and facial lacerations.” Additionally, she also had to undergo multiple surgeries, “a helicopter transport, and inpatient hospitalization and rehab,” according to the suit.

Shortly after the incident, the Warren County Sheriff’s Office conducted an investigation that determined Chawla, “who was walking south along Canada Street, ran in front of the trolley outside of a crosswalk as it moved west along Beach Road and that the vehicle’s operator could not avoid striking her.”

However, Chawla and Robert Bruschini, her lawyer, pushed back against the Sheriff’s report and said Rose, the operator of the trolley, was to blame. They argue that “Chawla was a lawful pedestrian at the time of the accident.” The suit further argues that “Rose took her eyes off the road when a passenger onboard the trolley asked her a question.” That small distraction was all it took for the bus to run into Chawla’s backpack, dragging her under the trolley. According to the suit, “Chawla was standing in the median between the eastbound and westbound lanes of Beach Road at the corner of Canada Street at the time of the accident.” 

The suit further accuses Rose of several traffic infractions, including: “failure to safely operate a trolley, failure to ensure the path was safe before proceeding and failure to yield to a pedestrian, among other things.” It states:

“The motor vehicle owned by defendants, city of Glens Falls, and operated by the defendant, Elizabeth D. Rose, was so carelessly, recklessly and negligently managed, operated and controlled that the same was caused to come into violent contact with plaintiff, Poonam Chawlaw.”

Sources:

Glens Falls facing lawsuit over Lake George trolley crash

Sheriff: Pedestrian struck after crossing in front of trolley

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