PORTSMOUTH – A retired rail worker won an $835,000 award after the derailment of the “Old 611” steam train. Thomas E. Coates, 70, of Virginia Beach, whose ankle was crushed in the rail disaster, wept and shook the jurors’ hands after the verdict was announced.
“It was a very satisfactory verdict for many reasons,” Coates’ attorney, Willard J. Moody, Sr., said. “We feel that the jury has placed a value on this man’s claim.” Moody argued that the ankle injuries and complications that ensued had left Coates unable to do most of the activities he enjoyed.
In court testimony, Coates said he was flung from his seat in rail car No. 13 and knocked unconscious as the train jumped off the track. His was the only car to turn over in the accident. Moody said Coates was an active man who had lost his ability to hunt, do yard work or march in a parade with the civic groups to which he belongs.