updated 4/26/2005 12:19:52 AM ET 2005-04-26T04:19:52

The wife of a sheriff’s deputy killed in a January commuter train crash triggered by an aborted suicide attempt filed a wrongful death lawsuit Monday against the transit agency.

Rita Kay Tutino, the wife of Deputy James Tutino, charges that among other alleged negligent acts, the agency, Metrolink, used a locomotive to push rather than pull the train cars.

Tutino’s attorney, Jerome Ringler, claimed analysis has proven the practice is dangerous because the cab car lacks a V-shaped grill designed to deflect the force of a collision. Locomotives usually have such a grill.

The locomotive’s position at the back of the train also creates additional momentum that can make a collision more severe, he claimed.

A Metrolink spokeswoman said she could not comment on pending litigation.

Eleven people were killed in the derailment in suburban Glendale, just outside Los Angeles, that prosecutors say was caused when a man parked a sport utility vehicle on the tracks in a suicide attempt, and then abandoned it. Juan Manuel Alvarez, 25, has pleaded not guilty to murder and arson in the case.

Tutino’s claim seeks unspecified damages, including the reimbursement of funeral and burial expenses, and compensation for loss of financial support and companionship.

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