CHAPEL HILL, Tenn. (WKRN) — Less than a month after three people were killed in a crash involving a train in Marshall County, their mother sat down with News 2 for the first time to discuss the tragic incident.
On Sept. 24, three of Maria Celeste’s five children were driving on Depot Road in Chapel Hill when their car was hit by a train.
Celeste traveled from Venezuela and was in court on Friday, Oct. 14 so she could legally file a suit on her children’s behalf.
“It was horrible. Sometimes I think it happened for a reason,” Celeste said.
Celeste said her three children, Magyory, Duvraska and Welengang Jose, moved to Nashville and sent money back home to Venezuela. The plan was for their mother to move here as well.
“We come here to get a better life,” Celeste said.
However, on that September afternoon, all three lost their lives while crossing a train track in Chapel Hill.
“The entities we’re looking at so far that we think have some responsibility for this tragedy is the city of Chapel Hill, the state of Tennessee, and the railroad companies,” said Rocky McElhaney, Celeste’s attorney.
According to McElhaney, the railroad crossing is dangerous since there are no lights or crossing gates.
“What we’re going to try to do through this case is to make changes to that crossing,” McElhaney said.
Celeste said that is her fight, as well, so no other mother has to go through a tragedy like this.
“The strength, I have it every day. I think like they’re travelling, somewhere else, and that they’re going to come back some day,” Celeste said. “And I hope they were the last victims that die, that lose their life in that place.
The mother’s attorney said they have not decided if they will file a lawsuit.
In a previous statement, the railroad company, CSX, told News 2 that the responsibility to alert drivers falls on state agencies.
News 2 reached out to the Tennessee Department of Transportation to see if any recommendations to the railroad crossing have been made. In an email response, a spokesperson told News 2 they plan to reach out to the city next week on how to move forward.