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Amtrak and BNSF Railway Co. last week jointly filed a lawsuit in federal court against MS Contracting LLC, the trucking company involved in last week's fatal train derailment near Mendon, Missouri.
The accident occurred June 27 when MS Contracting truck driver Billy Dean Barton II attempted to drive a dump truck through a BNSF grade crossing as Amtrak Southwest Chief Train 4 was approaching. The truck failed to clear the crossing before it was struck by the train, which then derailed. Four people — three on the train, plus Barton — died as a result of their injuries, and dozens of other people sustained injuries.
In their lawsuit, the railroads allege the truck failed to yield the right of way to the train by attempting to drive through the crossing. In addition to the human toll, the accident resulted in significant damages to the BNSF track structure, as well as the Amtrak train’s eight cars and two locomotives.
Amtrak and BNSF filed their case in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.
Meanwhile, the derailment prompted lawsuits filed against Amtrak, BNSF and MS Contracting, foxbusiness.com reported. Four passengers and two crew members who were on the train filed civil lawsuits against the railroads and the trucking firm.
In addition, the truck driver’s widow has filed a lawsuit alleging that BNSF and Chariton County, where the accident occurred, were negligent. BNSF and county officials had been warned by local citizens that the crossing was "ultra-hazardous," The Washington Post reported.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the accident.