Family of ballroom dancer killed in light rail crash files wrongful death suit

Nicholas Westlake Photo: Facebook photo used with permission
Nicholas Westlake

December 17, 2018 01:18 PM

The family of a prominent ballroom dancer killed when the vehicle he was driving was struck by a Green Line train in July 2017 has filed a wrongful death suit against the light rail operator, the Metropolitan Council and the Metro Transit Commission, court documents show.

Nicholas Westlake, 29, died in the crash at the intersection of Eustis Street and University Avenue.

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RELATED: Light rail operator found at fault for fatal crash, will not face charges

Documents released by Metro Transit showed the light rail operator involved in the fatal crash was found at fault but was not charged. Abdellatif El Maarouf was discharged in connection to the crash. 

In an internal memorandum, Metro Transit said El Maarouf traveled through a signal, causing the collision. The memorandum was written in August 2017. 

RELATED: Deadly light rail accident now in hands of Ramsey County Attorney

The memorandum goes on to say, "Light Rail Management investigated the accident and determined Mr. El. Maarouf was at fault." 

RELATED: Friends remember St. Paul ballroom dancer who died after crash with light rail train

The lawsuit alleges "Defendant Abdellatif El Maarouf's failure to keep a proper lookout, failure to keep proper distance, failure to stop, and failure to control the light rail vehicle caused the accident and Plaintiff's death. Additionally, upon information and belief, the Metropolitan Council's and MTC's failure to properly train and supervise Mr. Maarouf caused the accident and Plaintiff's death."

It seeks a judgment in excess of $50,000 together with all costs, disbursements and any further relief the court deems appropriate. A jury trial is requested.

Metro Transit declined to comment on the lawsuit Monday, citing its policy of not commenting on pending litigation.

Westlake and his partner Neli Petkova earned worldwide attention for their skills on the dance floor.

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