Amtrak sues dump truck owner after fatal Missouri train accident

Amtrak and the BNSF Railway have filed a federal lawsuit claiming that the negligence of the Missouri company caused a train accident on Monday and killed four people, including the company’s dump truck driver.

The Southwest Main Train from Los Angeles to Chicago, with 275 passengers and 12 crew members, ran northwest of Columbia in Mendon, Mo. The back of a dump truck near the city fell on a railway crossing that was not marked by electronic signals or crossing arms.

Amtrak and BNSF’s suit, which was filed Thursday in US District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, names MS Contracting as the defendants.

According to the lawsuit, the dump truck driver, 53-year-old Billy Barton II, was delivering rocks “for and on behalf of MS Contracting” in a company-owned truck on the day of the accident.

Court documents state that he attempted to cross the railroad intersection “despite the fact that it was unsafe, reckless and reckless to do so due to the clearly visible Amtrak train.”

The lawsuit claims that the accident and subsequent derailment cost BNSF and Amtrak, which operates their trains on railroads owned by the freight company, “over $75,000 in damages” each.

According to the lawsuit, “MS Contracting negligently, negligently and negligently operated the dump truck, causing the collision and derailment of Amtrak Train 4.”

Among its claims, the lawsuit alleges MS Contracting and its agents, officers and employees failed to maintain, inspect or repair the 2007 Kenworth dump truck involved in the accident.

According to court documents, Amtrak and BNSF also claim that MS Contracting “failed to properly train and supervise its employees, including Bill Barton”.

“At all relevant times of this complaint, Barton’s actions were: (1) within the course and scope of his employment with MS Contracting; (2) with the authority, consent and knowledge of MS Contracting; and (3) MS Contracting for the benefit of and under its direction and control,” according to the suit.

The lawsuit states that MS Contracting’s alleged lack of policies and procedures for operating its vehicles at rail crossings resulted in the collision and derailment.

MS Contracting’s registered agent Michael E. Sattman declined to comment Thursday and asked The Times to answer questions to the National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the accident.

Asked if he has a lawyer, Satman said, “He will also not comment.” After that he hung up the phone.

NTSB officials said the investigation into the accident would focus on the railway crossing, which was set for improvement And was A security concern for local farmers,

Officials said the collision was not related to mechanical or track issues.

Apart from Barton, three passengers of the train died in the accident. More than 150 people were injured.

Jeff Goodman, a mass transit attorney who has represented passengers and their families in disasters, said the companies involved are “already pointing fingers at each other, rather than focusing on safety improvements.” is required.”

Goodman said the companies’ actions indicate a “lack of priority given to safety” at Amtrak and BNSF.

“Rather than devoting their resources to sportsmanship and litigation strategy, Amtrak and BNSF should focus on preventing another disaster,” he said.

Times staff writer Richard Winton contributed to this report.

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