Truck Driver Sues BNSF Over Collision With Alleged “Uncontrolled” Railcars

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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 Division 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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