Locals Say Everyone Knew Amtrak Crash Site Was Unsafe

Missouri farmer posted video saying that very thing on June 11
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 28, 2022 3:00 PM CDT
Locals Say Everyone Knew Amtrak Crash Site Was Unsafe
A derailed Amtrak train is seen beyond a corn field Tuesday, June 28, 2022, near Mendon, Mo. The train derailed after hitting a dump truck Monday killing the truck driver and other people on the train and injuring several dozen other passengers on the Chicago-bound train.   (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

(Newser) – A fourth person has died due to injuries suffered when an Amtrak train traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago struck a dump truck and derailed Monday afternoon in a remote area of Missouri, reports the AP. They are the third passenger to die; the driver of the dump truck was also killed. The development comes as the Kansas City Star reports a farmer earlier this month warned about safety issues with the very crossing where the accident occurred. Mike Spencer posted a Facebook video on June 11 that had footage of a train traveling through the crossing, where he says he was almost once hit. "It's just a nightmare," he said.

Alongside the video, he wrote, "We have to cross this [crossing] with farm equipment to get to several of our fields. We have been on the RR for several years about fixing the approach by building the road up, putting in signals, signal lights, or just cutting the brush back." He doubled down in the wake of the crash, telling the Star, "They knew it was unsafe ... I was certain that this was going to happen. It was just a matter of time."

The Star notes that almost half of the state's 3,800 public highway-rail crossings have no bells, gates, flashing lights, or other warning devices, and that this one is on the list of crossings where updates are proposed. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the Missouri Department of Transportation estimated the fixes to this crossing would cost $400,000. "It needs arms on it or signals," adds another local farmer, who says the approach is dangerously steep, and that he heard the truck stalled while going up it. KMBC reports there's a roughly 6-foot change in elevation as you come up to the tracks. Spencer told the station drivers then "lean forward up against the glass to be able to look back because the railroad sits at an angle." (Read more train crash stories.)

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