MENDON, Mo. – No gates, no warning lights, and a steep crossing. One area farmer said he’s been worried for years there would be a scene just like the one Monday – a mangled truck in pieces and an Amtrak train full of people on its side.
More than 200 people were on an Amtrak train from Los Angeles to Chicago Monday afternoon when the train struck a dump truck sending eight railcars onto their side in a central Missouri cornfield. The driver of the truck and two people on the train were killed. Dozens of others were injured.
Neighbors with all-terrain vehicles worked with first responders to try to get injured passengers to ambulances.
Patients have been taken to various area hospitals in the surrounding counties and medical helicopters have taken those patients to applicable trauma centers in the area as well.
FOX4 is told a dump truck hauling rocks to a nearby levee collided with the train. The operator of the farm that is now the site of an NTSB investigation said he wasn’t surprised by the crash.
“Whenever you cross here with a combine, you have to actually put your steering wheel all the way forward and stand up out of the seat as you are trying to climb that approach and cross and look down the track both ways,” said farm operator Mike Spencer.
Spencer said he’s been working with the county and railroad to try to get the steep crossing of two sets of railroad tracks leveled off and thought he had the green light on the project last year. He posted frustrations that hadn’t happened yet earlier this month.
“Our hearts really go out to the families, I tried to prevent this, I done everything I knew to do in my power,” Spencer said. “I talked to numerous people and I’m just really saddened I wasn’t able to do more.”
Crews have been out working Monday night to get the rock hauled away to possibly get the track open again. That 14-member team of investigators from NTSB is expected out at the crash site by 8:30 Tuesday morning.