Families of women killed in Ellicott City derailment reach settlement with CSX

Settlement reached in Ellicott City train derailment

The families of two young women killed in the derailment of a CSX coal train in the heart of historic Ellicott City in the summer of 2012 have reached a settlement with the railroad.

The terms of the settlement, reached in November, are confidential, said Rob Doolittle, a CSX Transportation spokesman.

The National Transportation Safety Board determined last year that a worn and fractured rail along the tracks through Ellicott City caused the derailment, which buried Elizabeth Nass and Rose Mayr, both 19-year-old college students, in coal as they sat on a trestle that carries the tracks over the town's Main Street.

Last summer, the two women's parents said they were considering litigation against CSX unless the railroad offered them a public apology for the incident and a financial settlement.

"The families and our attorneys are determined to hold CSX fully accountable," said Eric Nass, the father of Elizabeth Nass, in a statement released in July by the law firm Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman, which specializes in rail disaster litigation nationwide.

Robin McCall, a spokeswoman for the firm, said Wednesday that "the matter has been resolved," but otherwise declined to comment.

The parents of Nass and Mayr did not respond to requests for comment.

The derailment occurred close to midnight, as Aug. 20, 2012, turned to Aug. 21 — not long before Nass and Mayr, both Mount Hebron High School graduates, were supposed to return to James Madison University and the University of Delaware, respectively, as rising juniors.

The derailment threw 21 train cars and tons of coal off the tracks and onto the railbed, some of them traveling across a nearby parking lot and to the edge of the nearby Patapsco River. Nass and Mayr were asphyxiated under a pile of coal on the trestle, where they were trespassing at the time of their deaths.

The accident shocked the town and renewed a conversation about safety along the rail corridor.

krector@baltsun.com

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