Photo: Chase Castor/Getty Images
The wife of the driver who died after his truck collided with an Amtrak train in Missouri filed his first wrongful death lawsuit this week.
Erin Barton, widow of Billy Barton II, along with her attorneys filed the lawsuit against Chariton County and BNSF roadmaster Mariano Rodriguez.
Billy Barton was driving a truck on Porch Prairie Avenue when he tried to drive over what is known as “the Porch Crossing” on BNSF tracks, when an Amtrak passenger train going less than 90 mph collided with the driver’s vehicle. man, killing him and three passengers inside the transport.
The suit claims that Barton, of Brookfield, “did not see or hear the train coming with adequate warning to safely cross the tracks.”
Erin Barton accuses Rodriguez and the county of negligence in leaving the road leading to the crossing and the crossing itself in an unsafe condition.
Mariano Rodríguez is manager of BNSF’s road engineering/maintenance department and, according to the lawsuit, is responsible for inspecting and maintaining Amtrak’s right-of-way, including the Porche crossing.
The document argues that the Porche crossing, which was a level crossing, had poor sight triangles and an “excessively small” crossing angle at the intersection of the highway and the tracks. The widow alleges that the small crossing angle caused visibility problems for different drivers.
He also argues that the sloping approach to the crossing and brush, trees, and crops block the full view of approaching trains.
Barton’s complaint says the intersection is narrow, bumpy and poorly maintained, distracting drivers and making crossing difficult. According to her, the conditions have existed for several years.
Besides, it is a passive crossing, which means that there are no warning systems such as a bell, crossing arms or lights. The Porche intersection only has signs indicating that tracks are nearby.
The woman explained that Rodríguez should have known that the Porche crossing was dangerous “yet he did nothing to reduce the danger to motorists or train occupants (crew and passengers) to ensure doors and lights were installed on the crossing”.
The lawsuit states that the county is responsible for properly designing, constructing, inspecting, repairing and maintaining the roads, including the crossing path.
Barton alleges that the approaches to the crossing did not meet national and state standards for roads that approach the tracks, “making the roads dangerous to use.”
Barton’s attorneys have asked for a jury trial and $25,000 in damages for each defendant.