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Emails: Attorney nixed SC train injury fund

Apr 21, 2011 12:45:00 PM - thestate.com
Legal advisers shut down a fund proposed by Spartanburg County leaders and Gov. Nikki Haley's office that would have paid medical bills for dozens of people hurt by a children's train ride crash, according to a newspaper report.

After reviewing emails released under a public records request, the Herald-Journal of Spartanburg reported Thursday that organizers stopped the effort after a state Insurance Reserve Fund attorney said the plan could make the county uninsurable.

Twenty-seven people were injured and a 6-year-old boy was killed March 19 when the train ride hurtled off its rails at Spartanburg's Cleveland Park. The official cause of the crash is still under investigation, and a state employee who admitted falsifying an inspection report days before the crash has been fired.

Local leaders proposed that the county and Haley's office each put $1 million into a fund to pay medical bills for the injured people, many of whom were members of Gaffney's Corinth Baptist Church.

"I cannot believe these families are having to worry about insurance issues on top of everything else they are dealing with," Councilman David Britt wrote in one email. "I think we need to step up now and meet with them and let them know we will take care of these medical bills. This is our responsibility."