• Re: Widow of truck driver killed in Amtrak collision files wrongful dea

    From lighting tech at Mega Amusement@21:1/5 to governor.swill@gmail.com on Sun Sep 25 05:17:13 2022
    XPost: alt.fan.states.missouri, talk.politics.guns, alt.fan.rush-limbaugh XPost: sac.politics

    In article <t059re$288ql$84@news.freedyn.de>
    governor.swill@gmail.com wrote:

    A dump truck driver thought he could outrun a speeding train.

    The widow of a man killed when the truck he was driving was hit
    by an Amtrak train this week has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.
    In the suit, Erin Barton alleges that the Missouri railroad
    crossing where Billy Dean Barton II died was "ultra-hazardous,"
    due in part to the defendants' failures to maintain the

    The first of two defendants is Mariano Rodriguez, a manager in
    the BNSF Railway's engineering department. Rodriguez is in
    charge of ensuring "the safety, proper inspection and
    maintenance" of railroad crossings like the one near Mendon, the
    suit says.

    But the widow alleges that he failed to do so, citing the
    crossing's "impaired 'sight triangles,'" an "excessively small
    crossing angle," and other impairments, including "sloped
    approaches, brush, trees and vegetation blocking a full view of
    oncoming trains in some quadrants." She said "the surfaces of
    the crossing were narrow, rough and poorly maintained."

    Additionally, the crossing did not have "bells, gates or lights"
    to warn vehicles of an approaching train it only had
    crossbucks or signs saying that the tracks were nearby, the suit

    "These conditions at the crossing created an ultra-hazardous
    crossing," the suit says, adding that the conditions had been
    like that for years.

    The suit cited the fact that it takes trains a significant
    amount of time perhaps up to a mile to stop fully. "This
    fact makes properly guarded, inspected and maintained crossing
    critical for safety," it says.

    Given these alleged safety concerns, Rodriguez "knew or should
    have known that the Porche crossing posed a grave danger to the
    public," the suit said.

    On June 27, these failures culminated in the fatal collision and
    derailment, the lawsuit alleges. Erin Barton's husband was
    driving a dump truck through the crossing and "did not see or
    hear the train coming with adequate warning to safely cross the

    The crash killed him and three others on the train, which was
    carrying nearly 300 people from Los Angeles to Chicago. Many
    others were injured in the incident.

    Erin Barton is seeking $25,000 and prejudgment interest for
    costs incurred from filing the lawsuit.

    She is also suing Chariton County, Missouri, where the crash
    took place, for the same compensation. The lawsuit alleges that
    the county failed its duty to properly design, inspect and
    maintain its roads, including the approaches to the crossing. It
    says the county violated several roadway standards as well.

    Prior to the crash, residents had reported to the county's road
    authority several issues at the crossing, the suit said.
    Therefore, the suit alleges, the county was aware of the
    problems, and its negligence "caused or directly contributed" to
    Barton's death.

    This is the first reported lawsuit filed as a result of the
    crash. More than 10 victims in the derailment, including the
    family of a man who died, have retained lawyers "to represent
    their interests," a separate law firm said in a statement to CBS

    Sixteen National Transportation Safety Board investigators were
    on scene to try and determine the cause of the crash, chair
    Jennifer Homendy said Wednesday. They will download the train's
    event recorder, and will examine the train's two forward facing
    cameras as well as the dump truck's electronic control module.

    She said the NTSB has been recommending "for a number of years"
    that passive crossings, like the one near Mendon, be either
    converted to active ones, closed or consolidated. She also
    pointed out a 1998 NTSB study which recommended that vehicles
    have technology that would alert drivers to trains in the area.

    Amtrak said Monday night that it was "deeply saddened" to learn
    of the deaths, adding that it's cooperating with local

    On Thursday, Amtrak and the BNSF Railway company, which owns the
    track on which the collision happened, sued Barton's employer
    and the owner of the dump truck, MS Contracting, alleging it was
    responsible for the crash and accusing the company of negligence.

    The lawsuit claims Barton "failed to yield the right of way to
    the approaching Amtrak Southwest Chief Train 4," resulting in
    the collision. It deemed his actions "unsafe, careless and
    reckless." It blamed the company for "negligently, carelessly,
    and recklessly" failing to adequately train Barton and maintain
    the truck.

    The crash injured and killed Amtrak employees and passengers,
    significantly damaged property owned by the two companies, and
    resulted in delays and service disruption, according to the suit.

    Amtrak and BNSF reported more than $75,000 in damages from the
    crash, and they are each seeking a payment of more than $75,000
    in the lawsuit.


    30 June, 2022

    Years ago driving across the prairie farms of Illinois, I
    watched some cars on a highway almost get hit at a crossing.
    Back then, many were simply crossbucks on a pole. Wide open farm
    fields where you could see in all directions for miles, yet they
    target fixated on the highway and ignored the train approaching.
    I don't know if they were trying to beat the train or simply
    didn't see it, but the second car crossed with the locomotive
    only about 25 feet from the car as it did. I was always amazed
    at how people would risk their lives to save a couple of minutes
    or be so oblivious to their surroundings.

    30 June, 2022

    Based on posted pictures, there was NO brush blocking any "sight
    angles." The crossing has a STOP sign. It looks like it COULD
    use some maintenance, but not enough to be a problem crossing.
    Very FEW rural crossings have anything more than the crossed
    boards signal, due to LACK OF TRAFFIC making in too expensive to
    be practical. MOST rural crossings are sloped for drainage
    reasons, just as the roadbed is higher than the surrounding land
    for the same reason.
    The main problem, obviously, was her husband, not paying

    Harvey E
    30 June, 2022

    The railroads were there before the cars. Drivers Education
    classes stress the importance of being aware and alert at
    railroad crossings, marked or unmarked. We do not live in a
    perfect world. Each must bear responsibility for their actions.


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