A 64-year-old Missouri farmer named Mike Spencer claims he warned both Amtrak and the Missouri Department of Transportation about a dangerous railway crossing where a train ended up hitting a dump truck on Monday.
Three passengers died and around fifty were injured in the accident, but according to Spencer, the whole tragedy could have been avoided.
Spencer told the Kansas City Star he was under the impression three different railroad crossings in the area were going to be fixed back in July of 2021 after he called several times to complain about a lack of safety signals and overgrown brush near the intersections.
“They never even offered to cut brush back for us so we could at least see,” he said.
“They knew it was unsafe,” Spencer added. “That was pretty much a no-brainer. . . I predicted this was going to happen. I was certain that this was going to happen. It was just a matter of time.”
“I think it could have totally been avoided. I know it could have been avoided,” he told the local outlet.
Spencer even posted a video to his Facebook page on June 11 warning of one of the sketchy train crossings.
“We have been on the RR for several years about fixing the approach by building the road up, putting in signals, signal lights or just cutting the brush back,” he wrote. “This train is only moving at approximately 45-50 but some come through at anywhere from 70-90 mph. If you cross here with a vehicle stop, approach very slowly, then look both ways. There are 2 tracks and around 85 trains go through there every day.”
Another local farmer named Daryl Jacobs talked with the Kansas City Star about the train being derailed.
Jacobs said he wasn’t surprised the derailing took place, saying the crossings “are dangerous” because they are “too dang steep,” the brush along the railroad tracks “needs to be cleared back” and they lack any safety “arms or signals.”
The farmer said he heard the dump truck that was struck on Monday had stalled out on the steep hill where the train track was.
According to a report put out by the Missouri Department of Transportation, about half of the railway crossings in the state are missing warning devices like bells, flashing lights and gates.
Perhaps this terrible incident will encourage governments around the nation to invest in the safety of citizens traveling via train.