Train derailment: Amtrak, BNSF sue company that owned dump truck

Workers inspect the scene of an Amtrak train which derailed after striking a dump truck Monday,...
Workers inspect the scene of an Amtrak train which derailed after striking a dump truck Monday, June 27, 2022, near Mendon, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)(Charlie Riedel | AP)
Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 8:40 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Amtrak and BNSF are suing the company that owned the dump truck that Southwest Chief Train 4 hit on Monday, causing a derailment.

The lawsuit is federal and was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri - Northern Division.

The two train companies are suing MS Contracting, which is located in Brookfield, Missouri.

Initially, you may wonder how BNSF is part of this. On page two, the lawsuit states that Amtrak provides passenger rail service by using the track the derailment happened on. It states that segment of track is owned by BNSF.

The lawsuit says the male employee was driving the dump truck on the day of the derailment at the direction of MS Contracting and that it was loaded with rock when he tried cross the tracks at the grade crossing near Mendon.

The lawsuit then alleges: “Despite the fact that it was unsafe, careless and reckless to do so because of the clearly visible approaching Amtrak Train 4, [the driver] failed to yield the right of way to the approaching Amtrak Southwest Chief Train 4 . . . and instead attempted to cross the grade crossing which resulted in a collision between the Dump Truck and Train 4, causing Train 4 to derail.”

The lawsuit then states there were 289 people on the train and there were multiple fatalities and injuries due to the collision and subsequent derailment. It also notes that there was “significant property damage,” both to the train and the track itself. It says that Amtrak and BNSF incurred damages well over $75,000 each.

The lawsuit alleges that MS Contracting was negligent in 20 different ways. Among them:

  • Failing to stop at the railroad crossing in violation of a posted stop sign
  • Operating the dump truck through the crossing without sufficient undercarriage clearance to prevent it from contacting the track
  • Driving at a speed that didn’t permit the dump truck to stop before reaching the railway
  • Failing to observe and hear the approaching Amtrak train
  • Operating the vehicle while utilizing or being distracted by an electronic wireless communication device
  • Failing to train or supervise employees, including this driver, in the proper procedures for driving the dump truck in a safe and prudent manner, and at railroad crossings in particular
  • Failing to supervise, test, observe, or otherwise ensure that employees - including this driver - were sufficiently qualified, knowledgeable, and understood and followed procedures for driving the dump truck in a safe and prudent way, especially at railroad crossings
  • Failing to properly inspect, maintain, or repair the dump truck to make sure it was safe
  • Failing to follow proper loading procedures

In addition to the monetary cost already mentioned, the lawsuit reiterates that Amtrak suffered financial losses due to being unable to use their equipment, having to make alternate travel arrangements for the passengers, the medical expenses for passengers and workers, and the general cost of responding to the derailment scene.

In addition to the previously mentioned damages to the track, it also states that BNSF incurred labor costs, suffered delays and disruptions to service, and also had the cost of responding to the scene.

The lawsuit closes by saying: “WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs National Railroad Passenger Corporation (“Amtrak”) and BNSF Railway Company respectfully pray for judgment in their favor and against defendant MS Contracting, LLC in an amount exceeding $75,000; for their costs of this action; and for such further relief as the Court deems just and proper.”

Previous coverage:

Train derailment: GoFundMe for De Soto victims tops $17,000 in just a day

NTSB is looking into intersection where train derailment happened

Four people killed in fatal Amtrak crash identified

NTSB spends Tuesday investigating deadly Amtrak train derailment in Missouri

NTSB investigates train derailment, shares more about crossing in Mendon

Fourth person dies in Amtrak train crash near Mendon, about 150 injured

Passengers help each other climb out of train cars following deadly derailment

Boy Scouts played major rescue role after train derailed

Site of train derailment was on MoDOT’s safety improvement list for 2022

4 killed when Amtrak train derails in Mendon, Missouri

Leavenworth County students on Amtrak train are ‘okay’ following crash