ONLY ON 3: Lisa Barnes speaks out on daughter, lawsuit - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

ONLY ON 3: Lisa Barnes speaks out on daughter, lawsuit

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A mother who lost her teenage daughter after being struck by a train in Hamilton County is speaking out for the first time.

Earlier this month, Lisa Barnes lost a $25 million lawsuit when a jury found no one at fault in the death of her daughter, Hannah. Now Barnes is doing just one interview, only on Channel 3.

Barnes said she wanted the lawsuit to send a strong message on underage drinking. Now she wants people -- especially teens and parents -- to learn from her family's tragedy.

"Every time I go over a railroad track, I think about it," Lisa Barnes said in an exclusive interview with Eyewitness News.

It's been more than two years since a train killed her 19-year-old daughter, Hannah. Barnes said she often replays that night.

"It's never really gone away," she said. "It actually seems like it gets worse every day, instead of better."

The night of the wreck, Hannah stayed late after her shift as a hostess and server at Hennen's Restaurant in downtown Chattanooga. She was with her manager, 27-year-old Michael Hennen.

Hannah texted her mom about staying late, and not to worry. So Lisa said she didn't worry, and went to bed.

"I figured everything was OK," said Barnes. "I knew [Michael] was quite a bit older than her and [Hannah] had a boyfriend. So it didn't really hit me as anything else but that she was there at work with Michael."

Investigators retraced their steps from the restaurant to Walmart to McDonald Farms, where they apparently fell asleep on the nearby train tracks.

"It baffles me why that ever happened," she said.

Hannah was 19 years old, and her blood alcohol level was .07. Investigators were unable to prove exactly where she drank or who provided the alcohol.

But Barnes hopes her daughter's legacy is more than just a lawsuit.

She said Hannah was just like any 19-year-old girl. She loved being outside, hanging out with her friends and had an infectious smile.

"I don't think we could find a picture from when she was 3 months old up that she wasn't smiling. She loved life."

Barnes said she wanted to use the settlement to educate teens on underage drinking, give money to Chattanooga State (where Hannah attended school), and do charity runs in her daughter's honor.

"It was just disappointing, and I knew nothing was going to happen" she said of the verdict. "If it would have went the other way, I felt like I could make a difference -- in Chattanooga and actually everywhere."

Barnes' lawyer plans to send trial transcripts to the Tennessee Alcohol & Beverage Commission as well as the Chattanooga Beer Board.

They say they have not decided whether to appeal.

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