January 28, 2012

Dexter Man Killed in Missouri Train Accident

Kelvin E. Wooten, 43, of Dexter, Missouri was killed in a Missouri train accident on January 25, 2012. The train crash happened in Stoddard County, Missouri at 2:00pm.

Wooten was driving a 2004 Pontiac on County Road 657, 2 miles west of Dexter. A Union Pacific train slammed into the Pontiac. The force of the impact caused the Pontiac to overturn off the county road. Wooten was not wearing a seatbelt during the accident. The railroad crossing was only marked by a sign. There were neither warning lights nor other automatic warning devices at the crossing.

Train accidents at railroad crossings caused the death or personal injury of the lives of roughly 2,000 Americans each year. According to the Federal Railroad Administration, there can be nearly 3,000 collisions at railroad crossing in a single year.

Train accident victims often wonder who is liable for a Missouri train accident? Train accidents are most common at railroad crossings. Some railroad crossings are equipped with automatic warning devices, but many crossings are only marked by sign. However, merely posting signs at railroad-roadway intersections may not be enough to prevent deadly accidents.

Posting signs at intersections is not enough to completely prevent accidents. The signs must be check regularly to be effective. If left unchecked, the signs may fall over during inclement weather. A negligent driver may hit the sign and leave it on the ground. Nearby foliage may grow and cover the sign from view. Signs at intersections must be maintained and checked to provide adequate warning to drivers.

Victims of Missouri train accidents should contact a Missouri train accident lawyer for more information about their options. Our attorneys are well-versed in Missouri’s personal injury laws and provide free legal consultations to accident victims.

January 16, 2011

St. Louis Metrolink Accident Injures Five

A St. Louis metrolink train struck a vehicle on Saturday night, January 15, around 8 p.m, sending five people to the hospital and leaving the car heavily damaged. Metro officials stated there were 25 people on board the train at the time of this St. Louis train accident. Police believe the unidentified driver of the sedan got lost after crossing the southbound tracks. The driver then turned around in a rail yard and then crossed the tracks in the direct path of the Metrolink train. The St. Louis train accident occurred west of Jefferson, where the train tracks cross South Ewing. Three passengers aboard the train, as well as the driver and passenger in the sedan, were transported to the hospital, where their injuries were assessed and deemed to be non-life threatening.

Employees and others inside a Burlington-Northern trailer located near the crossing said they did not see the crash, but did hear it. They also stated they heard the warning sounds generally heard when the crossing arms come down immediately before they heard the actual crash. Because of these accounts, police believe at this time the crossing arms were operating properly. The Metrolink train accident is still under investigation to determine exactly why the car drove directly in front of the train. Although the Metrolink was shut down for a short amount of time while passengers were transferred to a bus, the accident did not cause closure of service between the Civic Center Station and West End station as was reported earlier.

Over 2,500 train versus automobile accidents occur annually, causing extensive damage to property, severe personal injury and even death. Almost half of these train accidents occur at railroad crossings where the flashing lights and arms are functioning properly, however many others occur at crossings with inadequate safety devices. While most people mistakenly believe they will hear an oncoming train and have plenty of time to avoid a crash, a freight train traveling fifty miles per hour can take well over a mile to come to a complete stop. Generally speaking, a 3000-pound car doesn’t stand much of a chance up against a train weighing several hundred tons. When a train is involved in an accident with an automobile, calling a Missouri personal injury attorney as soon as possible is imperative. Following such an accident the corporate lawyers and CEO’s of the train company generally close ranks. Make sure your rights are safeguarded with an experienced St. Louis Missouri personal injury attorney.

November 15, 2010

Missouri teen survives railroad crossing accident

Kendra Wood, 19, was involved in a serious injury accident over the weekend, but the outcome of the crash involving a Burlington Northern Santa Fe train could have been much worse.

According to local media reports, Wood was driving her Mercury Sable along County Road 161 after work. At approximately 4:15 p.m., she approached a railroad crossing without a gate and slowed to see if a train was approaching. Her vision was obstructed by the sun on the horizon and she failed to see the train speeding toward her. The front of her car had just crossed the tracks when it was hit and spun off the road into a ditch.

Wood was flown to Liberty Hospital for emergency treatment. Fortunately, the injuries were not life-threatening. Had she pulled forward even one more foot, this Missouri train accident could have been much more serious.

Railroad crossing incidents generally have very serious or deadly consequences due to the amazing forces involved. A fully loaded train can take up to a mile to come to a complete stop and any vehicles that get in the way are often completely destroyed. Motorists approaching railroad crossings should always be extra vigilant.

Unfortunately, even a careful driver can fall victim to a dangerous situation if certain maintenance issues are negligently ignored. Not every railroad crossing has warning lights or gates. In fact, the state of Missouri alone has over a thousand unprotected and potentially dangerous railroad crossings. To make matters worse, sometimes the railroad companies will allow shrubbery to grow around the crossing site which can obstruct the view of a driver. If you or a loved one has been involved in a railroad crossing accident and you would like to discuss your case to learn your legal rights, consult a Missouri personal injury lawyer.

September 15, 2010

Opening statements are heard in Missouri railroad crossing accident case

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The trial of a fatal Missouri truck-train accident got underway on Tuesday as opening statements were presented to the jury. The incident in question, which killed James Webb Jr. and seriously injured his brother, Guy Webb, is being tried as a combined wrongful death suit and personal injury suit.

Misty Webb, the daughter of James Webb Jr., is the administrator of her father's estate and is bringing her claims under the Missouri Wrongful Death statute.

The accident occurred in August 2007 as the brothers attempted to cross railroad tracks owned by Union Pacific in Iron County, Mo. As they tried to cross, a train hit the truck causing massive damage.

Guy Webb suffered brain injuries and a collapsed lung and his medical bills exceeded $500,000.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs are arguing that the responsibility for the accident should fall on the railroad company and not the injured party for a couple of reasons. First, the train did not sound any warning whistles or horns as it approached the crossing. Second, the plaintiffs claim that the railroad company had allowed plant life to grow out of control around the crossing which obscured sight lines and made it harder to see oncoming trains.

In a personal injury case such as this one, there are a number of things that a plaintiff has to prove to be successful. It must be shown that the defendant had a duty or responsibility to the injured party. Then it must be proven that, through some type of negligence, this duty was not fulfilled and, as a direct result of this negligence, the injury occurred.

There are many complicated nuances to injury and wrongful death cases, which is why it is important to seek a consultation from an experienced personal injury attorney if you have been injured by someone else's negligence. If you have any questions about the law as it relates to a recent accident that you or a family member have suffered through, contact our St. Louis personal injury law firm and set up free consultation.

August 10, 2010

Missouri man killed in railroad crossing accident

John Norris, 79, was killed in a Missouri railroad crossing accident when he attempted to cross tracks in Saline County on Tuesday morning.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Norris was driving a 2006 Dodge and approached the marked crossing on English Street shortly after 11:00 a.m. The investigating officer said the lights and bells at the crossing were working at the time of the crash, but Norris failed to stop and his car was hit by the train.

Norris was pronounced dead at the scene. The train, which was a single engine GP40 locomotive from KC Southern, sustained only minor damage and was later driven from the scene.

While the initial accident report described the lights and bells as working, it is not known whether the train conductor sounded his horn as he approached the crossing.

Missouri is one of the ten most dangerous states for railroad crossing accidents, according to fatality rates. A recent report found that the state has more than 2,000 dangerous crossings that are unguarded with no lights or warning signals.

Even crossings with lights and crossing guards have been known to produce accidents. Malfunctions with the automatic warning systems and signage that is obscured by overgrown trees can leave even the most attentive motorist unaware of an approaching train. Once a car crosses into the path of a train, there is little a conductor can do to slow down as a fully loaded freight train can take up to a mile to come to a full stop once brakes are applied.

If you have questions about a railroad crossing accident claim, it is important to consult an experienced Missouri personal injury attorney who has a background with such accidents.

May 31, 2010

Statistics on train-vehicle crashes

In following up on a previous post about Missouri train-vehicle crashes, I wanted to post some statistics related to the problem both in the St. Louis area and around the country.

Nationwide, there have been over 30,000 railroad crossing accidents and 3,600 deaths in the past decade. While uncontrolled railroad crossings can be very dangerous, about half of all railroad crossing collisions occur at sites with warning devices as drivers will try to beat the train even when they know it's coming.

St. Louis happens to lie on the border of two of the most dangerous states when it comes to fatal car crashes at railroad crossings. Illinois ranks #1 as the most dangerous state and Missouri comes in at #10.

The causes of these crashes vary from case to case, but generally, they are either caused by driver error, unsafe conditions at the crossing, or some mix of the two. Too often we hear about a driver who saw a train coming, but thought he could beat it over the crossing. In many other cases, a responsible driver will simply not be aware of a train due to obstructions along the tracks, a lack or warning lights, or a conductor who fails to blow a warning horn when approaching.

In some cases, the victims may be entitled to damages from the railroad company. It is in the best interest of accident victims to contact a St. Louis personal injury lawyer to make sure their rights are protected.

May 29, 2010

Missouri has thousands of dangerous railroad crossings

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A Fox 4 Kansas City report has revealed Missouri has more than 2,000 dangerous railroad crossings without working warning lights or bells.

The report is a follow up to a story of a Trenton, Missouri railroad crossing accident that claimed three lives. At that intersection, there were no warning lights or automatic crossbars. Drivers have to stop before crossing to make sure no trains are approaching, but this can be more of a problem than it first seems. The crossing sits at the crest of a small hill and this can make it hard to stop in wet or icy conditions. Visibility may also not be 100% and it's not unreasonable for a safe and defensive driver to come to a full stop, scan for trains, and still miss an oncoming locomotive.

According to the Fox 4 report, the reason for so many unregulated crossing with only a warning sign is funding disputes. The state will pay to put up warning systems, but these automatic lights are expensive. Only a handful are installed every year across the state due to budget limitations. The railroad companies can also install warning systems themselves, but often fail to do so, leaving drivers to fend for themselves at these dangerous intersections.

Aside from the lack of crossing guards, a number of other risk factors contribute to Missouri railroad crossing crashes. Bushes and overgrowth can build up at crossings to obstruct the view of drivers and train conductors may fail to sound their horn as they approach the crossing.

Another problem seen at certain crossings is when companies park their trains near an intersection. Drivers get used to seeing a parked train near the road and eventually ignore it. When you look at a train head-on, it's often hard to tell how fast it's moving or whether it's even moving at all. Drivers may then mistake a moving train for one of the parked trains they are used to seeing and make a deadly mistake.

If you or someone you love has been involved in a Missouri railroad crossing collision, contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your rights as an accident victim. Holding railroad companies responsible for dangerous crossings may be the only way to fix this deadly problem and prevent more lives from being lost. Call for a free legal consulttation and one of our Kansas City, Mo personal injury lawyers can help you with your legal issues.

December 10, 2009

Another Missouri railroad crossing accident claims three lives

Three people were killed Wednesday morning in a Missouri railroad crossing accident in Trenton when the car they were riding in was hit by a freight train.

The three people killed in this accident were Nancy Groves, 24, Adam Romesburg, 30, and Nina Spencer, 28. All three were riding together in a 2001 Plymouth Neon that attempted to cross the railroad tracks on First Street.

According to reports filed by the Missouri State Highway Patrol and local media, the car was crossing the tracks at an uncontrolled crossing, which means there is no automatic arm or lights to warn motorists. They crossed into the path of the train which engaged its brakes, but was unable to stop before hitting the car. The train finally came to a stop a couple thousand feet down the tracks.

This news comes on the heels of another fatal Missouri train crossing accident last week. In both cases, the crossings did not have automatic arms to block motorists from the tracks when a train approaches.

In the wake of the Trenton crash, many residents are sending condolences, but some are expressing concern that the crossing was a known danger due to the fact that there are no lights to warn motorists and snowfall could obstruct the signs and tracks themselves.

Transportation officials and locomotive companies have as much a responsibility for preventing accidents as the drivers themselves. Accidents should be investigated by authorities and Missouri railroad crossing accident lawyers to see if they were caused by driver negligence or an existing dangerous situation at the crossing itself.

December 4, 2009

Missouri railroad crossing crash kills driver and injures passenger

A fatal Missouri railroad accident has claimed the life of Kristy Willis, 33, and seriously injured injured her daughter, Kelsey Turner, 8.

The crash occurred at 3:35 p.m. Friday afternoon on Greenbriar Drive near Highway 60 in Seymour, Missouri. According to local media reports and the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Willis was driving a pickup truck with three children, including Turner, as passengers. The truck attempted to cross the railroad tracks when a train, initially unseen by Willis, slammed into the side of the vehicle.

Willis was killed by the crash. Turner, who was riding up front in the truck, was seriously injured and taken by helicopter to St. John's Hospital. The two other passengers, Tiffany Bowden, 15, and Carl Bowden, 16, were riding in the truck's bed and were able to leap to safety moments before the crash.

Witnesses say that Willis had gone to pick up the children from the bus stop. There are also witness reports that say the train failed to blow a whistle or sound any sort of warning horn as it approached the crossing.

While drivers need to exercise extreme caution when approaching a railroad crossing, the burden of safety does not fall squarely on their shoulders. The tracks and crossing should be be free of obstructions so drivers can clearly see if it is safe to cross. Not every crossing has automatic warning bells, so conductors should also sound the onboard horn to warn motorists. This appears to be something that didn't occur in the Seymour crash. If any negligence on the part of the locomotive company is suspected, the incident should be investigated by a Missouri train accident attorney to help ensure that similar accidents don't take place in the future.

March 12, 2009

Illinois train accident kills St. Louis woman

Heather Sheree Balven, 31, was killed Thursday morning after driving a pickup truck in front of an Amtrak train in Hartford, Illinois.

According to a St. Louis Post Dispatch report, Balven was driving east on 7th street when her truck was hit by the train. The crash occurred around 7:23 a.m.

Investigators pronounced Balven dead at the scene. None of the train's passengers or crew were injured, according to the Post Dispatch.

Toxicological tests for alcohol and drugs in Balven's system have been submitted to authorities, but no results have been released. Information from the train's on-board monitoring system will also be examined.

The train had left St. Louis and was on its way to Chicago.

According to the Post Dispatch, the crossing where the injury occurred does not have a gate, warning lights or bells. It only has an x-shaped warning sign. That particular stretch of track is owned by Kansas City Southern.

This is the third Amtrak incident in the last few months. Fortunately, the last couple incidents did not result in any fatalities. 15 people died in vehicle-train crashes in 2008, according the Post Dispatch.

If any train accident investigation determines that negligence on the part of one of the parties led to a serious injury, a personal injury attorney will be called to try and win damages for the injured.

January 15, 2009

Another Amtrak train crashes in Illinois

An Amtrak train crashed into a garbage truck on Thursday becoming the second accident in just over a month involving an Amtrak train hitting another vehicle.

According to local media reports, the train had left St. Louis and was heading north toward Chicago. The train hit the garbage truck at a railroad crossing near Carlinville, Illinois. The crossing was equipped with warning lights and bells, according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

Several passengers and an Amtrak employee were taken to local hospitals for treatment and then released. The garbage truck driver, working for Waste Management Inc., was also taken to an Illinois hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

An investigation into the accident is ongoing. Authorities do not know why the garbage truck was in the path of the train and witnesses claim that the warning lights were working, according to the Post Dispatch report.

This accident is very similar to the one we reported on last month in which ten people were injured in an Amtrak train crash. None of the injuries in that accident were serious, but if accidents like these continue to occur, it’s only a matter of time before someone is seriously hurt or killed. Sometimes personal injury lawyers with train accident experience are called in to investigate and find that the intersection warning lights are not functioning or the intersection is not safe in some other way. These kinds of errors, if they exist, need to be pointed out and corrected.

For your own safety, don’t ever try to beat a train at a crossing. If you are involved in an accident either in a car or while riding on the train itself, you should take notes on the incident that may be able to help any authorities called in to investigate. You should also contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.

December 8, 2008

Amtrak train headed for St. Louis crashes, partially derails

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An Amtrak train bound for St. Louis crashed into a tractor-trailer truck that had gotten stuck on the tracks near Brighton, Illinois on Monday morning.

Ten people, including the train’s engineer, were injured in the Illinois train wreck and taken to local hospitals. All of the injuries were considered relatively minor, though four people were unable to walk from the train under their own power immediately after the accident, according to a St. Louis Post Dispatch report.

The train hit the truck’s trailer that was blocking the crossing. The truck driver, Dustin Kroeschel, 24, was able to jump to safety before the crash.

Several of the train’s cars left the track, but thankfully none of them overturned or were terribly mangled.

Fortunately nobody was seriously injured or killed, but this incident should be investigated by local authorities, the trucking company, and an experienced Illinois train accident lawyer in order to prevent similar, and potentially more disastrous, accidents in the future,

July 31, 2008

Missouri Truck Driver Killed in Train Accident

Photo from Fox 2 News
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Missouri truck driver David Willoughby, 70, was killed Wednesday night when his truck became stuck at a railroad crossing on Route N in Pacific.

According to the highway patrol, Willoughby’s truck lost traction in some loose gravel and was blocking the railway. Willoughby exited the vehicle to inspect the situation when a train crashed into the tractor-trailer.

The Highway Patrol indicates that Willoughby suffered an unknown medical condition in the moments before the crash. It is unknown at this time exactly what medical condition he suffered and if this affected his ability to safely escape the crash. The basis for this conclusion will need to be thoroughly investigated as the conclusion will affect legal liability in this case.

The road that Willoughby’s truck became stalled on is under construction and being repaved, according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch. Local drivers were cited as saying the road is nearly impassable and has no signs or barrels to warn motorists of the dangers. Piles of loose gravel are stacked near the railroad crossing.

If the conditions of the roadway were unsafe, the people in charge with the road's maintenance and even perhaps the rail company could be found liable for damages. A full investigation will need to be conducted by the highway patrol and an experienced personal injury attorney to determine these legal issues.

We will post more details about this incident as they emerge.

In cases like this, it is important that a personal injury lawyer is contacted as soon as possible. Many elements of personal injury law are time sensitive and crucial evidence may be lost if not collected immediately.

E. Ryan Bradley has handled personal injury cases for over 30 years. If you have question about your legal rights, contact us for a free consultation. We handle railroad crossing accident cases as well as many other types of lawsuits. There is no obligation for consulting with our law firm and you will never receive a legal fee from us. We are only compensated if we are successful on your case.

February 4, 2008

Illinois Train Accident Lawyer: Fog Blamed for Illinois Train Accident Near St. Louis

Authorities say fog contributed to cause an early morning Illinois train crash in Worden, Illinois, a city near Edwardsville, Illinois, at approximately 8:20am. Bill Dittmar, a Worden County, Illinois fire fighter was quoted as saying "It's really foggy here" and that "I'm sure that contributed to the crash."

However, it is speculated the crossing arms and lights at the rail road crossing were not working. The operator of the truck that was hit by the train was taken to the Community Regional Hospital in Staunton, Illinois. No details regarding the extent of his injuries were released.

In this case, if it is determined the crossing guard did not function, there could be a lawsuit against the railroad whose responsibility it was to maintain the guard. More investigation would need to be conducted to determine liability, if any, on behalf of the railroad.

At E. Ryan Bradley, we handle train accident cases and provide free legal consultations on any personal injury case. Moreover, we have a team of seasoned investigators who are on call to investigate any accident at any time. These services cost our clients nothing in the event there is no claim to be made or it is determined there is no negligence on behalf of a party. In the event negligence is substantiated, the costs of the investigation are reimbursed from any recovery we may obtain for the client. Please visit our website at www.stllawhelp.com for more information regarding our services.

November 29, 2007

South Dakota Man Seriously Injured in Train Wreck in Lincoln County Missouri

Mike Green, a truck driver from South Dakota was seriously injured in a train wreck in Lincoln County Missouri today. Mr. Green's flat bed tractor trailer was on the train tracks around the intersection of Highway N and 79 in Winfield, Missouri and was hit around 1:15pm. The train tracks are owned by Burlington Northern railroad. The train is owned by BNSF Railway. According to the Missouri Highway Patrol, after the train struck the large truck, it pushed the truck a quarter of a mile. Mr. Green was ejected from his truck and was thrown a long distance.

Mr. Green was transported to St. John's Mercy Hospital in Creve Coeur and was listed as suffering from serious personal injuries. Neither the operator of the train or the train company have released statements.

It will be interesting to find out exactly how this train accident occurred. Many train accident lawsuits filed by plaintiff's lawyers are premised upon faulty crossing guards and obscured intersections between train tracks and roadways. Once a final investigation is released, we will post the contents here.