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Amtrak employee says train in deadly crash was overcrowded, unsafe in new lawsuit

KRCG Columbia/Jefferson City logo KRCG Columbia/Jefferson City 8/8/2022 Michael Adkison
© Provided by KRCG Columbia/Jefferson City

An Amtrak employee injured in the deadly train crash in June in Mendon said Amtrak had knowingly and negligently overcrowded the passenger train, according to a new lawsuit filed on Thursday.

Carilyn White said she suffered "severe and permanent injuries" while working as a service attendant on the train during the deadly crash that killed four individuals

In the lawsuit, White alleges Amtrak did "not provide Plaintiff with a reasonably safe place to work," and did not do enough to prevent the crash, including reducing speed or applying the brakes in time. In another charge, White notes that Amtrak "intentionally overcrowded the Southwest Chief Train 4 beyond its safe capacity." 

A preliminary investigation released last month reported the train, which had 270 passengers and 12 crew members, crashed into a dump truck, killing the truck driver and three train passengers.

White's lawsuit also names BNSF Railway Company and MS Contracting, LLC, as defendants. The lawsuit alleges BNSF, which owns the railroad tracks the crash took place on, failed to ensure the railroad crossing was safely maintained. The Missouri Department of Transportation had previously flagged that railroad crossing as needing improvements, due to its lack of railroad crossing signals.

MS Contracting is listed as the owner of the dump truck which collided with the train. The lawsuit accuses the company of being partially responsible for the crash, arguing the driver "did not safely operate its dump truck" or heed warnings of the incoming train.

Several other lawsuits have been filed in the wake of the incident. 

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