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  • OTRI.USA
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  • OTVI.USA
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  • TLT.USA
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  • WAIT.USA
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  • DATVF.CHIATL
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  • DATVF.LAXDAL
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  • DATVF.VNU
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  • DATVF.VSU
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  • DATVF.VWU
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    9,836.710
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  • OTVI.USA
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NewsTrucking

Truck driver sues BNSF over collision with alleged “uncontrolled” railcars (with video)

A Kansas truck driver has filed a lawsuit against BNSF Railway Company (NYSE: BRK), alleging negligence, after his tractor-trailer collided with railcars after leaving a grain elevator near Greenfield, Missouri.

Brandan Bunnel, a truck driver for Bunnel Trucking LLC of Colony, Kansas, filed suit on October 3  in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, claiming he continues to suffer from “serious and life-altering injuries” after being struck by two BNSF railcars at a railroad crossing on April 5, 2018.

He is suing BNSF, which operates one of the largest railroad networks in North America, for more than $75,000 in damages stemming from the collision.

BNSF did not respond to FreightWaves’ request for comment as of press time on Monday.

Bunnel claims in his lawsuit that he had just unloaded his cargo at the Penn Pac II grain elevator and was exiting the facility when he “encountered an unmarked railroad-highway grade crossing,” known as the Park Street Crossing.

According to court documents, it was dark and there were no street lights on the road where he was driving.

At the time of the collision, Bunnel claims in the suit that there were “no signs marking” the crossing, which he claims is a private crossing, which is “owned, operated and maintained” by BNSF, which is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas.

Court documents allege that as Bunnel was preparing to cross the railroad tracks, BNSF workers “either failed to properly set the brakes or the brakes failed, causing the railcars to become loose and uncontrolled.”

As a result, the “two uncontrolled railcars were barreling down the tracks in a northbound direction” and hit the passenger side of Bunnel’s truck, resulting in serious injuries. He claims he also suffered financial losses as a result of the crash.

He alleges in the lawsuit that BNSF employees were negligent and failed to provide reasonable and timely audible and visual warnings of an approaching train and a safe place to cross the tracks.

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Clarissa Hawes

Clarissa has covered all aspects of the trucking industry for 13 years. She is an award-winning journalist known for her investigative and business reporting. Prior to joining FreightWaves, she wrote for Land Line Magazine and Trucks.com. Clarissa lives in Grain Valley, Missouri, with her family.

14 Comments

  1. What about when a client driveway is so narrow that the truck driver has to squeeze within 6 inches of a solid, poorly-lit wall & a page fence immediately next to active train tracks. So he is up high in his truck driving in a dark alley between a high wall & a high fence & cannot see a short metal rail immediately within the page fence. So he hits the rail & jumps it. Given the location, the client”s layout, & the fact that the pickup was required by the client to be made at night when it was very dark, shouldn’t someone other than the truck driver be held responsible when the truck driver hit that low metal rail? He had to pay for damages to the rail, for replacing the damaged tire on his truck, & for the cost of having a heavy duty tow truck lift his cab off the rail. He also had to pay a fine for the accident & was fired by his employer! He was driving slowly & carefully at an equidistance between the client’s wall & the page fence. The only reason he hit the rail was because it was so low, it was impossible to see it. The client, the city, & the railway did not have to pay any damage. It would seem approprivate that the city, railroad, & the client should bear some responsibility for creating &
    maintaining such difficult driving conditions. YOUR THOUGHTS PLEASE.

  2. Your story https://www.freightwaves.com/news/truck-driver-sues-bnsf-over-collision-with-alleged-uncontrolled-railcars
    Runaway rail cars hit driver
    BNSF false report to FRA says full train hits trucker and he didn’t stop.
    Federal records show the idiots missed the crossing for at least 49 years. Trucker would think rotten old tracks were dead tracks.
    Google map shows no crossing signs for at least 15 years.

    https://www.news-leader.com/story/news/local/ozarks/2019/10/07/bunnel-trucking-sues-bnsf-railway-company-crash-train-cars/3863680002/
    Kansas trucker suing BNSF for negligence after crash with train cars
    ==Accident # 1 of 3 == RR report HL0418201 == Crossing ID 974200Y ==
    On Apr 05, 2018 a FREIGHT TRAIN operated by BNSF Rwy Co. [BNSF] hit a TRUCK & TRAILER at approximately 10:10PM in Missouri in DADE county on PRIVATE road. The incident occurred in/near GREENFIELD city. The rail equipment was reported to have been traveling at 007 Mph with 2 locomotive(s) and 19 cars(s). The TRUCK & TRAILER had been traveling in an easternly direction at 005 Mph.
    The railroad was operating on industry track over a private road crossing. It was clear, at night and the temperature was 57. There were 0 death(s) and 1 injured in this incident and a Railroad Injury/Illness Report (form FRA-55a) was also filed. The 31 year old male driver was moving on the crossing and was reported to have not stopped. There were 1 occupant(s) in the vehicle. The view of the track was not obstructed. Hazardous material was not being transported by rail or highway vehicle.
    The crossing was protected by: RR crew
    NO CREWMEMBERS WERE DRUG/ALCOHOL TESTED. EASTBOUND TRUCK-TRAILER DID NOT STOP AT CROSSING AND WAS STRUCK BY NORTHBOUND MSMPMSPM105I. SEMI LEAKED ABOUT 75 GALLONS OF FUEL ONTO THE DIRT.

    Google map off of FRA inventory Crossing number is valid but not in the inventory file. 669827W
    3280 0.000168 669827W BNSF MO DADE SOUTH GREENFIELD WELLS 0 0 0 0 0 XB 0 11 10 NO 2 5
    3281 0.000168 669832TBNSF MO DADE SOUTH GREENFIELD RAILROAD AVE. 0 0 0 0 0 XB 0 11 10 NO 1 10
    37.4117090 -93.8475080
    669768W 37.3491060 -93.7613220
    669825H GRAND
    669826P ALLEY

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