Home Wrongful Death Lawsuits Family of woman who died in Amtrak crash files wrongful death lawsuit | Mid-Missouri News

Family of woman who died in Amtrak crash files wrongful death lawsuit | Mid-Missouri News

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OVERLAND PARK – Attorneys representing a Kansas family filed a wrongful death lawsuit Wednesday in connection to an Amtrak passenger train crash that left four people dead and more than 100 people injured.

The lawsuit, filed by Kansas law firm Kuckelman Torline Kirkland, named MS Contracting LLC, BNSF Railway Company and Mariano Rodriguez, the BNSF roadmaster, as defendants. 

The law firm is representing the family of 58-year-old Rachelle Cook, a DeSoto, Kansas resident, who was killed during the train derailment that occurred on June 27 near Mendon. The family requests a jury trial.

The incident occurred after the Amtrak Southwest Chief collided with a dump truck that was crossing the track. The train was traveling at 87 miles per hour when it crashed into the truck, tipped over and skidded to a stop. 

Cook boarded the train with her sister, mother and daughter in Kansas City and were headed to a trip to Chicago when the accident happened, according to a news release from the firm.

All four women on the train were seriously injured, but Rachelle Cook and her sister, Kim Holsapple, died as a result of their injures.

The driver of the dump truck, Billy Barton II, was also killed.

The BNSF is accused of failing to “adequately inspect and maintain the track and the crossing, failing to cut back overgrown vegetation that blocked motorists’ view of oncoming trains, failing to make safety improvements, failing to correct loose gravel at the crossing, and failing to pave the crossing.”

MS Contracting, LLC, the dump truck driver’s company, is accused of “failing to operate the dump truck with reasonable care, failing to accurately train test and supervise their driver, failing to enact and enforce policies and procedures to ensure safe driving, and failing to yield right-of-way to an oncoming train.”

As the roadmaster, Rodriguez is responsible for multiple sections of BNSF’s right-of-way tracks and the area around the tracks.

In the suit, he’s accused of careless and negligence. It says Rodriguez “failed to maintain the crossing in a safe and reasonable condition and failed to keep the right-of-way reasonably safe.” It also accused him of “failing to bring the crossing to the attention of proper governmental authorities and follow BNSF’s rules and guidelines regarding crossing safety.”

Multiple lawsuits have been filed in connection to the crash.

Barton’s wife also filed a wrongful death lawsuit, which names Rodriguez and Chariton County as defendants.

Amtrak and BNSF Railway filed a federal lawsuit against MS Contracting LLC, and an injured passenger filed a lawsuit against the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, BNSF Railway Company and MS Contracting, LLC.

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