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  • OTRI.USA
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  • OTVI.USA
    12,766.470
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  • TLT.USA
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  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.520
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  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
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  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
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  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    2.260
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  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.260
    0.040
    3.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    2.730
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  • WAIT.USA
    103.000
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  • ITVI.USA
    12,784.770
    -114.930
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  • OTRI.USA
    16.090
    0.030
    0.2%
  • OTVI.USA
    12,766.470
    -115.110
    -0.9%
  • TLT.USA
    2.820
    0.070
    2.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.520
    0.160
    6.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    1.860
    0.020
    1.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.310
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  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
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  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
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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 14 years. She is an award-winning journalist known for her investigative and business reporting. Before joining FreightWaves, she wrote for Land Line Magazine and Trucks.com. Clarissa lives in the Kansas City area with her family. If you have a news tip or story idea, send her an email to chawes@freightwaves.com.

14 Comments

  1. I was told to look both ways when crossing a RRT,and there is ko such thing as dead or dormant tracks.
    This driver is wrong,I am sorry about his experience/accident,but he failed to exercuse caution.

    1. So what if you are looking at 5 mph sight lines and it is a 70 mph train? ole Giovanni was trying to “beat the train” the headlines will say. 100 years of railroad brainwash has worked well for railroads killing 100 people to normal drivers ONE in 100 million miles traveled.

      Oh, trains don’t blow horns at private crossings till the last second freezing the drivers. The greed ran railroads are too cheap to put in “W” whistle signs like we pay for at public crossings. Listen for squirrels eating nuts or what?

  2. In the dark and train cars with no lights, no horns and rolling loose are NOT going to be seen or heard! So Socci, you must be Superman to see a train in the dark and hear a horn NOT blowing!
    Also, you having never been in a truck, you need to know a truck is evan louder than your little KIA!

    1. 75,000 is not going to be the amount that he’s suing for.75k is the minimum amount of damages that must be filed for a personal injury case in Federal court.

  3. 75,000 is not going to be the amount that he’s suing for.75k is the minimum amount of damages that must be filed for a personal injury case in Federal court.

  4. Interesting to find out if the elevator employees or railroad employees last handled the cars. We have many rules on the railroad to prevent this kind of thing from happening but sometimes people dont follow the rules and BN should be liable. However I have seen customer’s do funny things like not tying hand brakes once we place them in their facilities and they move them or trying to move more cars than they should with a mule and yes even shoving over crossings blind. One of the reasons we put derails by the mainline switches. Never trust someone else to not screw up!

  5. Why is that the general public, wether operating any type of vehicle or on foot, need to cross paths with trains ??? Furthermore i have seen trains completely blocking traffic for several miles due to the numerous amount of rail cars being pulled by a locomotive

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