Kansas passengers, crew members file lawsuits in deadly Missouri Amtrak crash

Westover couple survives Amtrak train derailment, shares experience
Westover couple survives Amtrak train derailment, shares experience(WDTV)
Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 4:49 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP/KWCH) - Several lawsuits have been filed following the Amtrak train collision and derailment in rural Missouri that killed four people and injured up to 150 others.

Four passengers from Kansas who were on the train and two crew members have filed a lawsuit stating that Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad (BNSF), Amtrak, and MS Contracting, LLC, the employer of the dump truck driver who died when his vehicle was struck, are responsible for causing the collision.

The suit alleges that for years residents of Chariton County reported the crossing as being highly dangerous, and particularly slow-moving for farm tractors and heavy trucks because of its steep inclines, loose gravel on the approach, an impaired field of vision, and high-speed trains.

The suit also states that a farmer, Mike Spencer, of Mendon, Mo., took a video of the crossing, with a train passing, approximately two weeks before the incident and warned BNSF, which owns the tracks, of the dangers.

The lawsuit alleges that BNSF failed to properly maintain the crossing, failed to upgrade the level of protection to flashers or gates, and failed to warn people of the dangers. The suit also states that the Missouri Department of Transportation, over a year prior to the incident, recommended that gates and flashers be installed because of its danger, but the BNSF failed to follow that recommendation.

Another surviving passenger Janet Williams of Dubuque, Iowa, filed a federal lawsuit Friday also naming Amtrak, BNSF Railway and MS Contracting. The complaint alleges negligent design of the railroad crossing and says the train was packed with too many riders.

The Kansas City Star reports that Amtrak and BNSF sued MS Contracting Thursday, saying the train was “clearly visible.”

The widow of Billy Barton II, the truck driver who died in the collision, is also suing Chariton County and a BNSF official.

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