On the evening of April 1, 1990, Teresa Hicks and her daughters, Melissa and Kimberly, were travelling down a Union County, Ohio roadway when they collided with a Conrail train at a railroad crossing which was unequipped with flashing lights, gates or other automatic warning devices. Within moments after the crash, another vehicle crashed into the train engine as well.

Ironically, another crash at the same crossing had occurred at 4:00 p.m. that same day when another vehicle collided with the same train engine.

Teresa Hicks suffered a broken ankle and Melissa Hicks suffered a broken back. However, Kimberly Hicks was catastrophically injured and was rendered quadriplegic as a result of her injuries.

The Hicks family brought suit against Conrail alleging the railroad crossing was unreasonably dangerous for the motoring public and that Conrail had failed to take appropriate steps to alleviate the dangerous crossing. Prior to trial, the railroad settled with the Hicks family for $4.65 million. This amount was based on the cost of providing proper medical care for Kimberly for the remainder of her life as well as compensating Melissa and her mother for their fractures and subsequent pain and suffering.