KANSAS CITY, Mo. — More lawsuits are coming out following a deadly Amtrak train derailment in central Missouri earlier this week.
The Amtrak train was traveling the Southwest Chief route from Los Angeles to Chicago.
On Monday, Billy Barton II was driving a dump truck for MS Contracting, which is based out of Brookfield, Missouri, when he attempted to drive over BNSF tracks in nearby Mendon, Missouri.
An Amtrak passenger train going just under 90 mph struck Barton’s truck.
On Thursday, railway companies Amtrak and BNSF filed a federal lawsuit against MS Contracting, just one day after Barton’s wife, Erin Barton, filed a lawsuit against Chariton County and BNSF roadmaster Mariano Rodriguez.
Lawsuits were filed Friday by St. Louis law firm Schlichter Bogard and Denton on behalf of four passengers and for two Amtrak crew members involved in the crash.
The lawsuit alleges that BNSF, Amtrak and MS Contracting are responsible for causing the collision that killed four people, including Barton, and sent over 100 to area hospitals.
According to the lawsuit, the passengers are Sherri Schwanz of Lansing, Kansas; Kimberly Howard of Lawrence, Kansas; Noel Lucero of Wichita, Kansas; and Allen Gallaway of Andover, Kansas. The crew members are Brian Marra and Chris Marzullo, both of Chicago, who were Amtrak conductors on the train.
For years, residents of Chariton County, Missouri, reported the crossing as highly dangerous, particularly for slow-moving farm tractors and heavy trucks because of its steep inclines, loose gravel on the approach, impaired field of vision, and high-speed trains, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit also names Missouri farmer Mike Spencer, who FOX4 has previously spoken with. Spencer took video of the railroad crossing with a train passing, approximately two weeks before the incident and warning BNSF, who owns the tracks, of the dangers.
The lawsuit alleges that the BNSF failed to properly maintain the crossing, failed to upgrade the level of protection to flashers or gates, and failed to warn people of the dangers.
The Missouri Department of Transportation recommended that gates and flashers be installed because of its danger, over a year before the deadly incident, but BNSF failed to follow that recommendation, the lawsuit states.
According to the lawsuit, the four passengers and two crew members are demanding a trial by jury.
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