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Archive for Thursday, February 7, 2013

Lawsuit filed against railroad in 2011 death of Lecompton man

February 7, 2013

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Douglas County officials investigate deadly train accident near Lakeview Lake

One person died when a BNSF freight train hit a truck near Lakeview Lake Friday, Feb. 4, 2011. Enlarge video

Lecompton train crossing

Reporter Shaun Hittle takes a closer look at a train crossing on E. 950 Road in Lecompton. In February 2011, 22-year-old Kyle Snyder was killed when his truck slid on a patch of ice and collided with a train. Snyder's family is advocating for warning lights at the top of the hill because of the poor visibility for drivers. The video shows that a driver probably wouldn't see a coming train until they go over the hill. Enlarge video

A Lecompton couple whose son was killed by a train in 2011 filed a lawsuit last week in Douglas County against Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, or BNSF.

Thomas and Laury Snyder's son Kyle, 22, died on Feb. 4, 2011, when his northbound pickup collided with the eastbound BNSF train at the crossing at East 950 Road, northwest of Lawrence. The crossing has a sign but no flashing lights or gates.

Authorities said icy and snowpacked conditions contributed to the crash, and the train’s engineer and conductor said the pickup was unable to stop at the crossing and slid in front of the train.

The lawsuit alleges negligence on the part of BNSF, such as failure to put flashing lights at the intersection and a failure by railroad conductors to give a proper noise warnings as they approached the intersection.

After their son’s death, the Snyders urged officials to make the crossing safer. In September, state, county and BNSF Railway Co. officials reached an agreement that will put signals and gates at the track crossing.

Thomas Snyder said the goal of the lawsuit is to hold BSNF accountable for their failure to make the intersection safer.

A spokesman for BNSF declined comment, citing the pending litigation.

Comments

bearded_gnome 1 year, 10 months ago

Authorities said icy and snowpacked conditions contributed to the crash, and the train’s engineer and conductor said the pickup was unable to stop at the crossing and slid in front of the train.

The lawsuit alleges negligence on the part of BNSF, such as failure to put flashing lights at the intersection and a failure by railroad conductors to give a proper noise warnings as they approached the intersection.

---okay, noise warnings from trains, signal lights, and even clanging bells installed at crossing don't fix ice that prevents a vehicle from stopping.

is this intersection a problem in nonice conditions?

Claire Williams 1 year, 10 months ago

It depends on which way you are approaching from. From the south, it is a heavily wooded downhill slope until right before the train tracks. If you watch the video in the sidebar, you can see what they mean, and a warning light at the top of the hill would probably be beneficial (like the warning light before 23rd and crossgate that warns when the stoplight is red over the blind hill).

Charles L Bloss Jr 1 year, 10 months ago

I sympathize with the family for their loss. Warning lights and arms would not keep a vehicle from sliding on ice and/or snow, however. The cost of warning lights prohibit the railroad from putting them at every train crossing on their tracks. It is sad that whenever there is an accident of any kind, we always look to make someone besides ourselves responsible and sue someone. An accident is an accident, warning arms would not stop a vehicle from sliding right through the crossing in adverse weather conditions, especially if they were driving too fast for road conditions.

Claire Williams 1 year, 10 months ago

No, what is sad that when there is an accident of any kind, we like to blame the victim fully, even though there may be others at fault as well.

Sure, the railroads cannot put lights and gates at every crossing, and nobody is asking for that here. But they ARE supposed to put lights and gates at crossings that are dangerous because of limited sight distance or other reasons.

This crossing is just over a blind hill surrounded by woods, and falls well within the realm of what I'd call dangerous. Warning arms won't stop you from sliding, but they'll allow people cresting that hill to see the danger sooner, which means they will stop sooner.

Claire Williams 1 year, 10 months ago

I don't know about him, specifically, but I frequently go for drives in the country on roads i do not know, and when I first came over this hill, I didn't know the train track was there. Not everyone who uses a road is from the immediate area, you know.

SouthWestKs 1 year, 10 months ago

Looks to me like speed was the reason for the accident. You only get lights & crossing arms at a crossing if you can get the KDOT & the railroad to agree. Again looks like speed was the cause.

juma 1 year, 10 months ago

I feel very sorry for the family. There is ONLY one place on the planet where a train will hit you; on the railroad tracks!! I tell my family to always, always stop, look. listen.

bearded_gnome 1 year, 10 months ago

thanks for the insight on this crossing.

indeed, None2 is right, this crossing has probably been there since Adam knew Eve. so now suddenly we need all this intervention.


I've always toyed with a Sci/fi sort of thought: what if locomotives were equipped with a high intensity repellent magnetic field emitter the engineer could kick on just before impact with a vehicle on the tracks. seems cheaper than all these signs/lights/clangsters all over creation. and seems there is or could be enough electricity available.

Claire Williams 1 year, 10 months ago

You would need some massive electromagnets , but that is an awesome thought!

bearded_gnome 1 year, 10 months ago

yes, Ducky, that is about electromagnets of which I am talking.

SouthWestKs 1 year, 10 months ago

Based on ice, I will say it again, speed was the cause of this accident. Ice normal means that you have to drive alot slower.

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