4 killed in Amtrak train derailment identified, Chicago law firm files suit
CHICAGO - A Kansas family injured in this week's Amtrak train derailment in central Missouri has hired a Chicago law firm to file suit against both Amtrak and the company responsible for the dump truck that blocked the tracks.
"Our clients are right now recovering. It's quite a traumatic event for them," said Henry Simmons, Managing Partner of Clifford Law Offices.
Simmons said his clients had to climb out of the wreckage through dangerous metal fragments, ending up on top of an overturned railcar.
"There's a myriad of all types of injuries. You have fractures, you have individuals who have serious soft-tissue injuries. The post-traumatic stress in these cases are real," Simmons said.
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Attorney at Clifford said they will focus their own investigation on the uncontrolled grade crossing where the collision happened. It's a crossing without any gates, warning lights, or bells to warn drivers, which is a very dangerous combination with passenger trains moving at a reported 90 miles per hour.
"What you're going to get is what occurred," said Kristofer Riddle, a partner at Clifford Law Offices. "It's a tragic event and it's an event that's measured in loss of human life, and it was completely foreseeable which means that it's completely preventable."
FOX 32 did reach out to the Missouri Department of Transportation about why that crossing has not been upgraded. A spokesperson said the crossing was identified for safety improvements in 2021 and funding for the upgrades has been identified.
However, she said a timetable on actually making those improvements is still in the works.
In addition, the four people killed in the incident were identified Wednesday.
- 53-year-old Billy Barton II of Brookfield, Missouri (The driver of the truck)
- 57-year-old Rochelle Cook of Desoto, Kansas
- 56-year-old Kim Holsapple of Desoto, Kansas
- 82-year-old Binh Pham of Kansas City, Missouri
Barton, Cook and Holsapple were pronounced dead at the scene, the Missouri State Highway Patrol said. Pham was pronounced dead at the hospital.