MENDON, Mo. — A week after four people were killed in an Amtrak derailment at a rural crossing in Missouri, the lawsuits over the incident are already piling up. And in one instance, the two railroads involved are suing the trucking company where one of the people killed worked.
On June 27, Amtrak’s Southwest Chief hit a truck at a rural crossing near Mendon, about 100 miles northeast of Kansas City. The collision resulted in two locomotives and eight cars derailing with many of the cars falling on their sides. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the wreck.
Within days of the incident, some of the first lawsuits were filed by passengers and crews onboard the train, specifically against Amtrak, track owner BNSF Railway and truck company MS Contracting LLC. Local residents have accused the railroad and state transportation officials of knowing that the unmarked crossing was dangerous and that they had planned to make improvements to it in the future.
But Amtrak and BNSF are blaming the trucking company that employed the driver involved in the incident. In a lawsuit filed on June 30, the railroads state that the driver carelessly tried to beat the approaching train at the crossing and that MS Contracting had failed to properly train its employees.