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Nevada trucking company countersues Amtrak for June crash

The trucking company involved in the June 24 crash between a semi-truck and Amtrak passenger train near Reno has countersued Amtrak and Union Pacific. Amtrak earlier filed a lawsuit against the John Davis Trucking Company of Battle Mountain, Nevada, saying that the company had not adequately trained their truck driver. In the countersuit, the trucking company claims that Amtrak did not maintain safe railroad crossings with adequate warnings of oncoming trains.

The trucking company says that their position is that Amtrak's warning signs did not adequately warn the truck driver of the oncoming train so he did not begin to stop early enough to avoid a collision. The truck driver was killed in the crash as were five people on the train and many more were injured.

The lawsuit also claims that Amtrak allowed the train to be traveling too fast through the crossing. The train was traveling at 75 mph and could not stop in time when it noticed the semi-truck barreling toward it. The driver of the semi-truck did not begin stopping in time to avoid the crash. Due to their weight, trains and trucks need a lot of stopping time.

The trucking company is currently facing five lawsuits from Amtrak and passengers or Amtrak workers who were injured on the train or family members of passengers killed in the crash. One of the passenger lawsuits also holds Amtrak at fault partly for injuries because doors were locked and passengers had to jump out of windows to escape. The passenger lawsuits mostly also target the trucking company for blame, saying that they did not adequately train the driver.

Source: Reno Gazette Journal, "Amtrak train crash countersues Amtrak, Union Pacific," Martha Bellisle, July 29, 2011

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