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Since 2020, a dozen people have died in collisions at these Missouri railroad crossings

Kansas City Star logo Kansas City Star 8/14/2022 Judy L. Thomas, Laura Bauer, The Kansas City Star
More than 200 people were on board when an Amtrak train traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago derailed June 27 after it struck a dump truck at a crossing near Mendon, Missouri. Four people were killed and 150 injured. © Rich Sugg/rsugg@kcstar.com/Kansas City Star/TNS More than 200 people were on board when an Amtrak train traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago derailed June 27 after it struck a dump truck at a crossing near Mendon, Missouri. Four people were killed and 150 injured.

These are the fatalities that occurred at Missouri railroad crossings from Jan. 1, 2020, to the present that were slated by the Missouri Department of Transportation for repairs.

2020

In 2020, there were nine fatalities involving collisions at railroad crossings in Missouri. Three of those deaths occurred at two crossings that were on MoDOT’s list for improvements.

Barry County

Feb. 19, 2020

Arkansas & Missouri Railroad

Victims: Francisca Perez Salas, 59, of Purdy, Missouri, was killed and her two grandchildren, ages 8 and 3, were injured.

Crash summary: The crash occurred at 4:15 p.m. on Washington Avenue in Purdy, Missouri. A southbound freight train with two locomotives and 29 cars going 37 mph struck a 2000 Honda Accord that was in the crossing. The crossing had a crossbuck sign and a pedestrian bell but no gates. The driver of the car, Francisca Perez Salas, was pronounced dead at the scene. The Missouri Highway Patrol report said her car was struck by the train when she failed to yield at the crossing.

Of note: Two years earlier, on Jan. 19, 2018, an 18-year-old driver was seriously injured at that intersection when his pickup was hit by a train. Town leaders said they’d been petitioning the railroad and MoDOT to make the crossing safer. They said MoDOT told them it got the go-ahead to do so in 2019 but that the railroad was responsible for doing the work.

Pemiscot County

Aug. 14, 2020

BNSF Railway Co.

Victims: Driver Titusan Townsend, 52, of Columbia, and passenger, Ricky Tillman, 51, of Kennett.

Crash summary:The crash occurred at 5:38 p.m. in Hayti, Missouri, when a southbound freight train with three locomotives and 133 cars struck an eastbound Chevy Impala that failed to stop, killing Townsend and Tillman. The Impala was hit broadside and pushed about 50 yards before landing upside-down in a deep ditch. The train’s speed at the time of the crash was 53 mph. The crossing had no lights, gates or bells, just crossbucks.

Of note: Accident records submitted by the railroad companies to the Federal Railroad Administration show the collision was the sixth train-vehicle crash at that crossing over the years. Those crashes resulted in three fatalities and three injuries.

2021

Three of the six fatalities involving collisions at railroad crossings in Missouri occurred at crossings that were on MoDOT’s list for improvements.

Chariton County

Feb. 17, 2021

Norfolk Southern Railway Co.

Victim: Leland Linneman, 60, of Salisbury, Missouri.

Crash summary: The crash occurred at 9:18 a.m. at the Cal Hubbard crossing about four miles west of Salisbury as Leland Linneman’s pickup was moving over the crossing. It was snowy and 16 degrees. The Missouri Highway Patrol report said Linneman tried to stop but the pickup slid into the path of the oncoming train. The westbound freight train with one locomotive and 10 cars struck the pickup at about 46 mph. The crossing had no lights, gates or bells, only crossbucks. Linneman died two days later at a Columbia hospital.

Of note:This was the second fatality in four years at that crossing. In April 2017, a 36-year-old Salisbury man was killed there when his tractor pulling a farm implement was struck by a train.

Webster County

June 13, 2021

BNSF Railway Co.

Victim: Joyce L. Gorsek, 73, of Mountain Grove, Missouri.

Crash summary: The crash occurred at the Porter Crossing Road in Rogersville. A southbound freight train with three locomotives and 106 cars struck a Ford pickup that was stopped on the crossing at noon that day. The train’s speed was 38 mph. There were no lights, gates or bells at the crossing, only crossbucks.

Of note:A 32-year-old man was injured at that same crossing on April 30, 2021, when a train hit his car after it stopped on the crossing, the accident report said.

Cass County

Dec. 7, 2021

Missouri & Northern Arkansas Railroad

Victim: Michael K. Samani, 66, of Lenexa, Kansas.

Crash summary:The crash occurred at 1:06 p.m. on Anaconda Road in Harrisonville when a northbound freight train with one locomotive and 14 cars hit an eastbound tractor-trailer rig that was going through the crossing. The train was traveling 7 mph. The crossing had crossbucks and flashing lights, but no gates. The Missouri Highway Patrol crash report said the truck was hit on the passenger side and pushed into a fixed object, then overturned and caught fire.

2022

So far this year, there have been 10 fatalities involving collisions at railroad crossings in Missouri. Six of those deaths occurred at crossings that were on the list for improvements — four from the Amtrak crash in Chariton County and two from a crash in Randolph County.

Randolph County

Jan. 11, 2022

Norfolk Southern Railway Co.

Victims:Kevin Campbell, 53, of Higbee, Missouri, and his 9-year-old grandson were killed; a 12-year-old grandchild was seriously injured.

Crash Summary: The crash occurred at 10:48 a.m. just southeast of Clark, Missouri, when a northbound freight train with two locomotives and 23 cars struck an eastbound pickup that failed to yield at the crossing. The train’s speed was 48 mph. The crossing had only crossbucks — no gates, lights or bells.

Chariton County

June 27, 2022

BNSF Railway Co.

Victims:Rachelle Cook, 57, and Kim Holsapple, 56, both of De Soto, Kansas; Binh Pham, 82, of Kansas City; and trucker Billy Barton II, 54, of Brookfield, Missouri

Crash Summary: An Amtrak train heading from Los Angeles to Chicago struck a dump truck at the Porche Prairie Avenue crossing southwest of Mendon, Missouri, killing three people on the train and the truck driver and injuring about 150.

Of note: Numerous wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits have been filed, both in Chariton County and in U.S. District Court. Defendants include BNSF, Amtrak, the Missouri Department of Transportation, the truck driver, the trucking company, Chariton County and Amtrak. And BNSF Railway and Amtrak have filed a federal lawsuit against the trucking company.

Crash summaries are based on Missouri Highway Patrol crash reports, incident reports filed by railroads with the Federal Railroad Administration, and media accounts.

©2022 The Kansas City Star. Visit kansascity.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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